Pesetsky’s (1987) ‘‘aggressively non-D-linked’’ wh-phrases (like who the hell; hereinafter, wh-the-hell phrases) exhibit a variety of syntactic and semantic peculiarities, including the fact that they cannot occur in situ and do not support nonecho readings when occurring in root multiple questions. While these are familiar from the literature (albeit less than fully understood), our focus will be on a previously unnoted property of wh-the-hell phrases: the fact that their distribution (in single wh-questions) matches that of polarity items (PIs). We lay (...) out the key data supporting this claim, embed the PI nature of wh-the-hell phrases in the theory of polarity developed in Giannakidou 1998, 1999, 2001, and establish the link between the lexical content of these phrases and their PI status by identifying wh-the-hell as a dependent PI. We subsequently exploit the PI status of wh-the-hell to explain the more familiar puzzles mentioned above, showing that these are not peculiarities specific to wh-the-hell but manifestations of the general properties of the class of PIs that wh-the-hell belongs to. The syntactic aspects of the polarity analysis of wh-the-hell are shown to have important consequences for the fundamental properties of wh-movement in English. (shrink)
We explore this question in three domains: subjunctive in Greek relative clauses, progressives, and nonveridical verbs like prospatho ‘try’. We find that: • Existence fully depends on (i.e. follows from) the truth of the proposition in the case of mood choice in the relative clause: if a sentence is true in a doxastic model (set of worlds), existence of the event participants will be guaranteed in the model . We call this existentiality.
In this paper, we present a theory of interaction between definiteness and quantifier structure, where the definite determiner (D) performs the function of contextually restricting the domain of quantificational determiners (Qs). Our motivating data come from Greek and Basque, where D appears to compose with the Q itself. Similar compositions are found in Hungarian and Bulgarian. Following earlier work (Giannakidou 2004, Etxeberria 2005, Etxeberria and Giannakidou 2009) we define a domain restricting function DDR, in which D modifies the Q and (...) supplies the contextual variable C to intersect with Q’s domain. DDR can also modify the NP in which case it works like an intersective modfier— and we suggest that this is the case in St’át’imcets Salish (drawing on data from Matthewson’s work). The result of DDR will be restricting the domain of Q by C, a weakly familiar property (in the sense of Roberts 2003, 2010), i.e. it is entailed in the common ground of the context. As a result of intersecting with this property, the Q that undergoes DDR becomes presuppositional, and we hypothesize that all presuppositional Qs (each-like Qs) have an underlying derivation of the domain restriction via D that we see in Greek and Basque overtly. Our analysis provides support for the program that domain restriction is grammatically represented, but we propose an important refinement: domain restriction can affect the Q itself (in agreement with von Fintel 1998, Martí 2003, Giannakidou 2004; pace Stanley 2002), and in fact quite systematically. We also show that the Q that is affected by DDR is a strong one, and explain the inability of weak Qs to undergo DDR as following from their status as adjectival. (shrink)
The main claim of this paper is that a general theory of negative concord (NC) should allow for the possibility of NC involving scoping of a universal quantiﬁer above negation. I propose that Greek NC instantiates this option. Greek n-words will be analyzed as polarity sensitive universal quantiﬁers which need negation in order to be licensed, but must raise above negation in order to yield the scoping ∀¬. This gives the correct interpretation of NC structures as general negative statements. The (...) effect is achieved by application of QR, and the account is fully compositional, as only sentence negation is the vehicle of logical negation ¬. Greek n-words are also compared to nwords in Romance, Slavic, and Hungarian. This analysis, if correct, has two important.. (shrink)
It has already been discussed extensively in the literature that wh-elements in Chinese (as in Japanese and Korean) can have non-interrogative interpretations, i.e., they are the socalled “wh-indeterminates” à la Kuroda 1965 (see Huang 1982, Cheng 1991, Li 1992, Lin 1998 among others). (1a-c) illustrate the typical examples.
In this paper, we examine the properties of a novel kind of nominal ellipsis in Greek, which we call indefinite argument drop (IAD), concentrating on its manifestation in object positions. We argue that syntactically these null objects are present as pro, and we show that semantically they are licensed only by weak DP antecedents (in the sense of Milsark 1974). We compare IAD with NP- internal ellipsis, as attested also in English among many other languages, and show that IAD has (...) distinct syntactic and semantic properties. Finally, we compare our account with a number of proposals regarding null objects in the literature, and show that IAD cannot be reduced to any of these. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper, we caution that the comparative is, in fact, not, a licensing environment for NPIs. We show that the appearance of NPIs is much more restricted than previously assumed: strong NPIs do not appear in comparatives, and often NPI- any is confused with free choice any . Strong NPIs are licensed only if an antiveridical function is introduced, such as the negative metalinguistic comparative charari (Giannakidou and Yoon 2009)—but the comparative itself does not contain an antiveridical or (...) downward entailing operator. Importantly, NPI sanctioning in comparatives is limited to rescuing (Giannakidou 2006) which allows only the weakest NPI type, the one that can be sanctioned in violation of LF licensing. The implication of our analysis is that the comparative should not be thought as a licenser of NPIs—a fact consistent with the analytical difficulty, admitted in many works, in making the comparative downward entailing or nonveridical. Finally, it cannot be claimed that the comparative contains negation—if it did, strong NPIs should be fine, but they are not. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper, we show that Greek distinguishes empirically ability as a precondition for action, and ability as initiating and sustaining force for action. In this latter case, the ability verb behaves like an action verb, and the sentence has the logical form of a causative structure φ CAUSE [BECOME ψ] (Dowty 1979). The distinction between ability as potential for action and ability as action itself has a venerable tradition that goes back to Aristotle, and is recently implied in (...) a number of analyses (Mari and Martin 2007, 2009, Thomason 2005). We show first that the phenomenon is not just aspectual ( pace Bhatt 1999, Hacquard 2006, 2009, Pinon 2003): actualized ability emerges with the ability verb also with imperfective aspect and present tense. They key, we argue is causation, which triggers a shift from pure ability, to ability as force (in the sense of Copley and Harley 2010, i.e. as action initiating energy). In Greek, the action reading of the ability modal comes about in an apparent co-ordinate causative structure, where the two clauses are connected with conjunction ke ‘and’— a pattern that we find also in other languages, including English, at least with some action verbs such as try, allow . Our analysis implies a meaning of ability richer than mere possibility ( pace Hacquard); and, by capitalizing on the causative meaning and the presence of force in causative structures, our analysis enables a principled explanation of the shift to action-ability without positing ambiguity for the ability verb ( pace Bhatt 1999). (shrink)
Classical generalized quantifier (GQ) theory posits that quantificational determiners (Q-dets) combine with a nominal argument of type et, a first order predicate, to form a GQ. In a recent paper, Matthewson (2001) challenges this position by arguing that the domain of a Q-det is not of type et, but e, an entity. In this paper, I defend the classical GQ view, and argue that the data that motivated Matthewson’s revision actually suggest that the domain set can, and indeed in certain (...) languages must, be contextually restricted overtly. (shrink)
The papers in this volume are updated versions of talks that were presented at the workshop QP structure, Nominalizations, and the role of DP that we organized at Saarland University, Germany, in December 2005. Although the connection between QP structure and definiteness, on the one hand, and nominalizations and definiteness on the other, were long observed in the literature, there has never been an attempt to bring the three together, and our aim at the workshop was to do exactly this: (...) to address recent developments in the area of quantifier phrase structure, nominalizations, and the linking definite determiner D. We invited discussions among the central approaches in syntax, morphology, semantics, and typology, paving the way towards a more comprehensive understanding of how quantification, definiteness and nominalizations are encoded in the grammar. (shrink)
Polarity phenomena in language are pervasive and quite diverse. A quite familiar polarity item (PI) is any. Any a PI because it exhibits limited distribution: it is ungrammatical in positive sentences, but becomes fine with negation, in questions, with modal verbs, and in the scope of downward entailing quantifiers like few.
White Thunder, a man around 40, speaks less English than Menomini, and that is a strong indictment, for his Menomini is atrocious. His vocabulary is small, his inflections are barbarous, he constructs sentences of a few threadbare models. He may be said to speak no language tolerably.
In this paper, we propose an analysis of metalinguistic comparatives (MCs) in Greek and Korean which combines an attitudinal semantics (Giannakidou and Stavrou 2008) with an expressive component. The comparative morpheme supplies the former, and the than-particle supplies the latter. Following Giannakidou and Stavrou, we assume that the MC involves the speaker’s attitude towards the than-proposition— which is deemed less appropriate or preferable— and we discuss novel data from Korean showing a two way distinction between “regular” MCs (signaled by the (...) particle kipota), and negative MCs (signaled by charari “rather” and the particle nuni). We argue that the use of MC than particles, in all variants, brings about an individual’s emotive state, and propose that the morphemes contain expressive indices in the sense of Potts 2007. Indices allow a range from mildly negative to very negative stance, so we capture the fact that expressive particles convey negativity, without positing negation in syntax— a result consistent with the fact that MC-than itself does not license strong NPIs that need negation. We further show that NPI sanctioning in comparatives is very limited, contrary to what is generally thought. Besides NPI-sanctioning, this analysis has two, we believe, important implications. First, it allows the generalization that metalinguistic functions in language are indeed part of the grammar as a combination of attitude semantics and expressivity. Additionally, our use of expressive indices supports Potts’s view of the expressive component as separate, but interacting, with the descriptive content. Finally, we show that the than particle is not vacuous (as is generally believed) but contentful: it is the locus of the interaction between descriptive and expressive meaning in the comparative. (shrink)
In this chapter, we discuss the distribution and lexical properties of common varieties of negative polarity items (NPIs) and positive polarity items (PPIs). We establish first that NPIs can be licensed in negative, downward entailing, and nonveridical environments. Then we examine if the scalarity approach (originating in Kadmon and Landman 1993) can handle the attested NPI distribution and empirical variation. By positing a unitary lexical source for NPIs—widening, plus EVEN— scalarity fails to capture the fact that a significant number of (...) NPIs are not scalar, and does not predict correctly NPI distribution in nonveridical contexts. It also misses the variation within the scalar class between broader (any) and narrow NPIs (either). Finally, scalarity predicts weaker effects (contradictions, presupposition failures) with ill-formed NPIs than is actually the case. The variation approach (Giannakidou 1998, 2001, 2007), on the other hand, posits that besides scalarity, NPIs can be created because of the presence of a variable in the NPI that cannot be interpreted deictically. This approach, by allowing more lexical sources for NPIs, is consistent with the diversity of NPIs, and extends easily to PPIs, which, as a class, appear to be non-scalar (Szabolcsi 2004 for some). Here one can again advance the argument that PPI-status is due to various sources including referentiality (some), and speaker commitment (with PPI adverbs; Ernst 2008). (shrink)
The main focus of this article is the occurrence of some polarity items (PIs) in the complements of emotive factive verbs and only. This fact has been taken as a challenge to the semantic approach to PIs (Linebarger 1980), because only and factive verbs are not downward entailing (DE). A modification of the classical DE account is proposed by introducing the notion of nonveridicality (Zwarts 1995, Giannakidou 1998, 1999, 2001) as the one crucial for PI sanctioning. To motivate this move, (...) it is first shown that two solutions in the direction of weakening classical monotonicity do not work: Strawson DE (von Fintel 1999) and weak DE (Hoeksema 1986). Weakening DE systematically either overgenerates or undergenerates, in either case failing to characterize the correct set of licensers. Nonveridicality is introduced as a conservative extension of DE and is shown to account for PIs also in contexts that are not DE (i.e. questions, modal verbs, imperatives, directive propositional attitudes). This theory, augmented with the premise that certain PIs (i.e. the liberal class represented by any) are subject to a weaker polarity dependency identified not as LICENSING but as RESCUING by nonveridicality, explains the occurrence of this particular class with only and emotive factive verbs. Crosslinguistic comparisons illustrate that the occurrence of PIs with only and emotive factives is not a general phenomenon, and further support the dual nature of polarity dependency and the semantic characterization of the elements that license or rescue PIs. (shrink)
In this paper, we identify a paradigm of metalinguistic comparatives in Greek headed by the preposition para. Para clauses are lexically distinct from other comparatives clauses in Greek (headed by apo, apoti). Building on earlier intuitions, we propose a semantics of metalinguistic MORE as a contrast between two propositions in terms of how appropriate of preferred they are by some individual. Syntactically, metalinguistic comparison appears to behave like a co-ordinate structure with ellipsis in the para-clause. Our account is extended to (...) metalinguistic negation, lexicalized by oxi in Greek, which, on a par with metalinguistic comparison, is defined as a binary operator, also contrasting two propositions. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the syntax-semantics of subjunctive clauses in (Modern) Greek. These clauses are headed by the particle na and contain a dependent verbal form with no formal mood features: the perfective nonpast (PNP). I propose that the semantics of na is temporal: it introduces the variable now (n) into the syntax. This is necessary because the apparent present tense in the PNP cannot introduce n. The PNP, instead, contains a dependent time variable. This variable cannot be interpreted (...) as a free variable – hence it cannot be identified with the utterance time of the context. This analysis relies on two premises. One is the (quite influential) idea that pronouns and tenses are analogous creatures (Partee 1973, 1984, Heim 1998, Kratzer 1998, and others). The other premise is that at least some polarity items are expressions that contain variables that cannot be interpreted deictically (Giannakidou 1998, 2001). In the present work I suggest to enlarge the domain of phenomena that can receive a unified treatment across individuals, worlds, and tenses, and treat the subjunctive mood as a non-deictic time, thus an instance of a polarity dependency of the temporal kind. It is my hope that the analysis proposed here for the PNP can be used to analyze verbal subjunctives in Romance languages, and perhaps also infinitival forms in English, but investigation of this question will have be left for the future. (shrink)
This paper discusses the behavior of three lexically distinct Greek expressions which appear to be the counterparts of English even: akomi ke, oute, and esto. The behavior of these three expressions is examined in positive and negative sentences, and it is demonstrated that they all are polarity sensitive. The distributional constraints of the three even-items, crucially, are shown to follow from their distinct scalar associations. In particular, the low-scalar likelihood of positive even (akomi ke) remains problematic with negation as well (...) as affirmation, a fact supporting the polarity approach to even and the lexical ambiguity that is associated with it. In further support of this conclusion, negative bias in questions is shown to arise not with negative polarity oute (which is ungrammatical in questions) or positive akomi ke (which is fine but creates no bias), but with esto— a low scalar item defined on a context-dependent scale. This finding strengthens Kay's 1990 and Horn's 1989 observation that likelihood alone is not sufficient for capturing the scalar properties of even. (shrink)
This paper explores the role that the scalar properties and presuppositions of even play in creating polarity sensitive even meanings crosslinguistically (henceforth EVEN). I discuss the behavior of three lexically distinct Greek counterparts of even in positive, negative, subjunctive sentences, and polar questions. These items are shown to be polarity sensitive, and a three-way distinction is posited between a positive polarity (akomi ke), a negative polarity (oute), and a ‘flexible scale’even(esto) which does not introduce likelihood, but is associated with scales (...) made salient by the context. The analysis is a refinement of Rooth’s original idea that negative polarity is involved in the interpretation of English even, and establishes further that the “negative” polarity domain of EVEN includes a sensitivity that is not strictly speaking negative (flexible scale esto). The distributional restrictions of EVEN items are shown to follow from distinct presuppositions (positive polarity and flexible scale EVEN), or from their lexical featural specification (negative polarity EVEN), a result that squares neatly with the fact that ill-formedness is systematic pragmatic deviance in the former case but robust ungrammaticality in the latter. This result supports the by now widely accepted view that polarity dependencies are not of uniform nature, and that we need to distinguish presupposition failures (which are weaker and possibly.. (shrink)
In this paper, we present a striking parallel between Greek and Korean in the formation and interpretation of metalinguistic comparatives. The initial observation is that both languages show an empirical contrast between “regular” comparative and metalinguistic comparative realized in (a) the form of a designated metalinguistic comparative MORE; and (b) in the form of THAN employed. We propose (building on our earlier analyses in Giannakidou and Stavrou 2009, Giannakidou and Yoon 2009) that the metalinguistic comparative is perspectival, i.e. it introduces (...) the point of view of an individual towards a sentence, and argue that the individual expresses invariably an attitude of preference: she prefers one sentence (the sentence itself, or the proposition it expresses) in a given context over another. The preference may come out as completely negative in certain cases, and this is manifested as yet another lexicalization in Korean (charari), which selects nuni-THAN, which itself carries a negative expressive index (in the sense of Potts 2007), we will claim. Expressive negativity is not equivalent to negation in syntax, as nuni alone cannot license NPIs that need negation. If our analysis is correct, it has one important implication that goes beyond just the metalinguistic comparatives in the individual languages we are considering. It allows the generalization that metalinguistic functions in language are indeed part of the grammar. In particular, they are reflexes of grammaticalization of perspective and subjective mode, on a par with predicates of personal taste discussed by Lasersohn 2005, 2008, 2009, mood choice, and similar phenomena. In comparatives, subjective mode is manifested as an ordering of preference. (shrink)
The puzzle of English until is well-known. Karttunen 1974 argues that until is ambiguous between a durative and a punctual negative polarity (NPI) meaning. Mittwoch 1977 claims that there is no ambiguity and that the two meanings are due to scope differences: NPI-until is in fact until above negation. Mittwoch’s account relies crucially on the assumption that negation is an aspectual operator that ‘stativizes’ verb meanings (a position recently argued for in de Swart 1996, and de Swart and Molendijk 1999; (...) see also Klima 1964, Seuren 1974, Verkuyl 1993). Thus far, the correct analysis of until remains an open issue. (shrink)
In this paper, we contrast English and Greek resultative secondary predication, showing that Greek lacks the productive syntactic strategy which English employs. We propose that the difference in productivity should be attributed to properties of the morphology in the two languages (namely, to the differing productivity of certain verbal affixes). Finally, we give a compositional semantics for the complex event formation in the morphology/syntax that accounts for the contrasts between resultatives in English and Greek.
Previous psycholinguistics studies have shown that when forming a long distance dependency in online processing, the parser sometimes accepts a sentence even though the required grammatical constraints are only partially met. A mechanistic account of how such errors arise sheds light on both the underlying linguistic representations involved and the processing mechanisms that put such representations together. In the current study, we contrast the NPI (negative polarity items) interference effect, as shown by the acceptance of an ungrammatical sentence like “The (...) bills that democratic senators have voted for will ever become law”, with the well-known phenomenon of agreement attraction (“The key to the cabinets are…”). On the surface, these two types of errors look alike and thereby can be explained as being driven by the same source: similarity based memory interference. However, we argue that the linguistic representations involved in NPI licensing are substantially different from those of subject-verb agreement, and therefore the interference effects in each domain potentially arise from distinct sources. In particular, we show that NPI interference at least partially arises from pragmatic inferences. In a self-paced reading study with an acceptability judgment task, we showed NPI interference was modulated by participants’ general pragmatic communicative skills, as quantified by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (Baron-Cohen 2001), especially in offline tasks. Participants with more autistic traits were actually less prone to the NPI interference effect than those with fewer autistic traits. This result contrasted with agreement attraction conditions, which were not influenced by individual pragmatic skill differences. We also show that different NPI licensors have distinct interference profiles. We discuss two kinds of interference effects for NPI licensing: memory-retrieval based and pragmatically triggered. (shrink)
In this paper we reconsider the issue of free choice and the role of the wh-morphology employed in it. We show that the property of being an interrogative wh-word alone is not sufficient for free choice, and that semantic and sometimes even morphological definiteness is a pre-requisite for some free choice items (FCIs) in certain languages, e.g. in Greek and Mandarin Chinese. We propose a theory that explains the polarity behaviour of FCIs cross-linguistically, and allows indefinite (Giannakidou 2001) as well (...) as definite-like FCIs. The difference is manifested as a lexical distinction in English between any (indefinite) and wh-ever (definite); in Greek it appears as a choice between a FCI nominal modifier (taking an NP argument), which illustrates the indefinite option, and a FC free relative illustrating the definite one. We provide a compositional analysis of Greek FCIs in both incarnations, and derive in a parallel manner the Chinese FCIs. Here the definite versus indefinite alternation is manifested in the presence or absence of dōu, which we take to express the maximality operator. It is thus shown that what we see in the morphology of FCIs in Greek is reflected in syntax in Chinese. Our analysis has important consequences for the class of so-called wh-indeterminates. In the context of current proposals, free choiceness is taken to come routinely from interrogative semantics, and wh-indeterminates are treated as question words which can freely become FCIs (Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002). Our results from Mandarin and Greek emphasize that wh-indeterminates do not form a uniform class in this respect, and that interrogative semantics alone cannot predict either sensitivity of free choice to definiteness, or the polarity behaviour of FCIs. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the distribution and interpretation of free choice items (FCIs) in Greek, a language exhibiting a lexical paradigm of such items distinct from that of negative polarity items. Greek differs in this respect from English, which uniformly employs any. FCIs are grammatical only in certain contexts that can be characterized as nonveridical (Giannakidou 1998, 1999), and although they yield universal-like interpretations in certain structures, they are not, I argue, universal quantifiers. Evidence will be provided that FCIsare (...) indefinites; the quasi-universal effect is shown to be the result of binding by an operator with universal force. Additionally, the limited distribution of FCIs in non veridical contexts can be accounted for by analyzing them as indefinites which must always be interpreted in an intensional type. The difference between ``regular'' indefinites and FCIs, therefore, is reduced to a type difference which captures the fact that only the latter exhibit limited distribution: because of their intensional type, FCIs will be grammatical only in contexts providing alternatives (worlds or situations), and nonveridical contexts do exactly this. By contrast, FCIs are excluded from veridical and episodic contexts because these provide no alternatives and hence do not satisfy the lexical semantic requirement ofFCIs. The proposed analysis is supported by data from other languages as well (Spanish, Catalan,French) and has important consequences regarding the analysis of English any. If FCIs are not universal quantifiers but indefinites, then the usual ambiguity thesis (free choice any being universal, negative polarity any an existential) can no longer be maintained, at least not as one in terms of quantificational force. (shrink)
Limited distribution phenomena related to negation and negative polarity are usually thought of in terms of affectivity where affective is understood as negative or downward entailing. In this paper I propose an analysis of affective contexts as nonveridical and treat negative polarity as a manifestation of the more general phenomenon of sensitivity to (non)veridicality (which is, I argue, what affective dependencies boil down to). Empirical support for this analysis will be provided by a detailed examination of affective dependencies in Greek, (...) but the distribution of any will also be shown to follow from (non)veridicality. (shrink)
Deaf children whose hearing losses are so severe that they cannot acquire spoken language, and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign language, use gestures called homesigns to communicate. Homesigns have been shown to contain many of the properties of natural languages. Here we ask whether homesign has structure building devices for negation and questions. We identify two meanings (negation, question) that correspond semantically to propositional functions, that is, to functions that apply to a sentence (whose semantic value (...) is a proposition, φ) and yield another proposition that is more complex (¬φ for negation; ?φ for question). Combining φ with.. (shrink)