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Profile: Anna Szabolcsi (New York University)
  1. Anna Szabolcsi & Chris Barker, New Directions for Proof Theory in Linguistics.
  2. Anna Szabolcsi, Compositionality in Quantifier Words.
    This architecture is compatible with various different theories of locality and linearization.  The typological differences between polysynthetic and isolating languages do not require the postulation of radically different combinatoric and compositional mechanisms in UG. The phonological word has no special status in semantic interpretation.
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  3. Anna Szabolcsi, Introduction to Ways of Scope Taking, Kluwer, 1997, Xiii-Xxi.
    Syntactic and semantic theories of quantificational phenomena traditionally treat all noun phrases alike, thus predicting that noun phrases exhibit a uniform behavior. It is well-known that this is an idealization: in any given case, some noun phrases will support a desired reading more readily than others. Anyone who has lectured on quantifier scope ambiguities to a class of unbrainwashed undergraduates will recall the amount of preparation time that goes into coming up with two or three examples that the class will (...)
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  4. Anna Szabolcsi, Overt Subjects in Infinitival Control and Raising Complements.
    An infinitival complement may have an overt nominative subject if the relevant features of a superordinate finite inflection are transmitted to that subject (say in the manner of long-distance Agree). The cross-linguistic variation in the availability of overt infinitival subjects has to do with variation in feature transmission.
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  5. Anna Szabolcsi, Dissecting Quantifiers (2013).
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  6. Anna Szabolcsi, Hidden in Plain Sight: Overt Subjects in Infinitival Control and Raising Complements, 2007-2009.
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  7. Anna Szabolcsi, How Unitary Are Intervention Effects? (2006).
    The paper compares theories of how the intervention of quantifiers, negation, and focus block the relation between wh-expressions and their traces, with special reference to Szabolcsi & Zwarts 1993/1997, Honcoop 1998, and Beck 2006. It presents new cross-linguistic data that bear on Beck's focus intervention theory.
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  8. Anna Szabolcsi, Polarity: Some Questions for Discussion.
    KADMON AND LANDMAN 1993: Any widens the domain to include marginal cases. Use of any is acceptable if the proposition with widening is stronger than the one with plain a(n).
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  9. Anna Szabolcsi, Questions About Proof Theory Vis-À-Vis Natural Language Semantics (2007).
    Semantics plays a role in grammar in at least three guises. (A) Linguists seek to account for speakers‘ knowledge of what linguistic expressions mean. This goal is typically achieved by assigning a model theoretic interpretation2 in a compositional fashion. For example, No whale flies is true if and only if the intersection of the sets of whales and fliers is empty in the model. (B) Linguists seek to account for the ability of speakers to make various inferences based on semantic (...)
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  10. Anna Szabolcsi, Scope and Binding.
    The first part of this article (Sections 1–5) focuses on the classical notions of scope and binding and their formal foundations. It argues that once their semantic core is properly understood, it can be implemented in various different ways: with or without movement, with or without variables. The second part (Sections 6–12) takes up the empirical issues that have redrawn the map in the past two decades. It turns out that scope is not a primitive. Existential scope and distributive scope (...)
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  11. Anna Szabolcsi, 222 Years of Linguistics.
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  12. Anna Szabolcsi & Chris Barker, New Directions for Proof Theory in Linguistics. ESSLLI 2007 Course Reader.
  13. Anna Szabolcsi & Raffaella Bernardi, Partially Ordered Categories: Optionality, Scope and Licensing.
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  14. Anna Szabolcsi (2015). What Do Quantifier Particles Do? Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (2):159-204.
    In many languages, the same particles that form quantifier words also serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, roots of existential verbs, and so on. Do these have a unified semantics, or do they merely bear a family resemblance? Are they aided by silent operators in their varied roles―if yes, what operators? I dub the particles “quantifier particles” and refer to them generically with capitalized versions of the Japanese morphemes. I argue that both MO and KA can be (...)
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  15. Anna Szabolcsi, James Doh Whang & Vera Zu (2014). Quantifier Words and Their Multifunctional(?) Parts. Language and Linguistics 15 (1).
    Formal semantic analyses often take words to be minimal building blocks for the purposes of compositionality. But various recent theories of morphology and syntax have converged on the view that there is no demarcation line corresponding to the word level. The same conclusion has emerged from the compositional semantics of superlatives. In the spirit of extending compositionality below the word level, this paper explores how a small set of particles (Japanese KA and MO, Chinese DOU, and Hungarian VALA/VAGY, MIND, and (...)
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  16. Adrian Brasoveanu & Anna Szabolcsi, Presuppositional TOO, Postsuppositional TOO. The Dynamic, Inquisitive, and Visionary Life of Φ, ?Φ, and ◊Φ Subtitle: A Festschrift for Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman.
    One of the insights of dynamic semantics in its various guises (Kamp 1981, Heim 1982, Groenendijk & Stokhof 1991, Kamp & Reyle 1993 among many others) is that interpretation is sensitive to left-to-right order. Is order sensitivity, particularly the default left-to-right order of evaluation, a property of particular meanings of certain lexical items (e.g., dynamically interpreted conjunction) or is it a more general feature of meaning composition? If it is a more general feature of meaning composition, is it a processing (...)
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  17. Anna Szabolcsi (2013). Quantification and ACD: What is the Evidence From Real-Time Processing Evidence For? A Response to Hackl Et Al. (2012). Journal of Semantics (1):ffs025.
    Hackl et al. (2012) argue that processing evidence specifically supports a theory of Antecedent Contained Deletion (ACD) that involves the threat of type-mismatch and infinite regress, with Quantifier Raising (QR) coming to the rescue. This squib argues that the processing evidence does not specifically support that theory. Very similar predictions can be made by the variable-free, or combinatory, theory that Hackl et al. dismiss, if we add the assumption that ACD is resolved by binding, not by simple anaphora.
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  18. Anna Szabolcsi, Quantifier Particles and Compositionality. Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.
    In many languages, the same particles build quantifier words and serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do the roles of each particle form a natural class with a stable semantics? Are the particles aided by additional elements, overt or covert, in fulfilling their varied roles? I propose a unified analysis, according to which the particles impose partial ordering requirements (glb and lub) on the interpretations of their hosts and the immediate larger contexts, (...)
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  19. Anna Szabolcsi, Compositionality Without Word Boundaries: (The) More and (the) Most. Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 22.
    This paper seeks to illustrate the advantages of not treating phonological words as distinguished building blocks in compositional semantics. Following Bobaljik 2012, we derive the relative readings of amount superlatives in two steps, [[[d-many] comparative] superlative]. The existence of two comparative constructions is revealed, involving more vs. the more. Each builds a different superlative construction, explaining the conflicting intuitions about superlatives in the literature, as well as puzzles relating to the definite article in superlatives.
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  20. Anna Szabolcsi (2011). Certain Verbs Are Syntactically Explicit Quantifiers. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6 (1):5.
    Quantification over individuals, times, and worlds can in principle be made explicit in the syntax of the object language, or left to the semantics and spelled out in the meta-language. The traditional view is that quantification over individuals is syntactically explicit, whereas quantification over times and worlds is not. But a growing body of literature proposes a uniform treatment. This paper examines the scopal interaction of aspectual raising verbs (begin), modals (can), and intensional raising verbs (threaten) with quantificational subjects in (...)
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  21. Anna Szabolcsi (2010). Quantification. Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: 1. What this book is about and how to use it; 2. Generalized quantifiers and their elements: operators and their scopes; 3. Generalized quantifiers in non-nominal domains; 4. Some empirically significant properties of quantifiers and determiners; 5. Potential challenges for generalized quantifiers; 6. Scope is not uniform and not a primitive; 7. Existential scope versus distributive scope; 8. Distributivity and scope; 9. Bare numeral indefinites; 10. Modified numerals; 11. Clause-internal scopal diversity; 12. Towards a compositional semantics (...)
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  22. Anna Szabolcsi, Overt Infinitival Subjects in Hungarian and Cross-Linguistically. NYU Working Papers in Linguistics 3.
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  23. Anna Szabolcsi (2009). Overt Nominative Subjects in Infinitival Complements in Hungarian. In Marcel den Dikken & Robert Vago (eds.), Approaches to Hungarian 11. John Benjamins 251–276.
    We argue that the infinitival complements of subject-control and subject-to-subject raising verbs in Hungarian can have overt nominative subjects. The infinitival subject status of these DPs is diagnosed by constituent order, binding properties, and scope interpretation. Long-distance Agree(ment) and multiple agreement are crucial to their overtness.
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  24. Anna Szabolcsi, Overt Nominative Subjects in Infinitival Complements Cross-Linguistically: Data, Diagnostics, and Preliminary Analyses. NYU WPL in Syntax, Spring 2009, Ed. By Irwin and Vázquez Rojas. 2009. Http://Linguistics.As.Nyu.Edu/Object/Linguistics.Grad.Nyuwpl#Vol2.
    The typical habitat of overt nominative subjects is in finite clauses. But infinitival complements and infinitival adjuncts are also known to have overt nominative subjects, e.g. in Italian (Rizzi 1982), European Portuguese (Raposo 1987), and Spanish (Torrego 1998, Mensching 2000). The analyses make crucial reference to the movement of Aux or Infl to Comp, and to overt or covert infinitival inflection.
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  25. Raffaella Bernardi & Anna Szabolcsi (2008). Optionality, Scope, and Licensing: An Application of Partially Ordered Categories. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17 (3):237-283.
    This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is given (...)
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  26. Anna Szabolcsi & Raffaella Bernardi (2008). Optionality, Scope, and Licensing: An Application of Partially Ordered Categories. [REVIEW] Journal of Logic, Language and Information 17 (3):237-283.
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  27. Anna Szabolcsi, Lewis Bott & Brian McElree (2008). The Effect of Negative Polarity Items on Inference Verification. Journal of Semantics 25 (4):411-450.
    The scalar approach to negative polarity item (NPI) licensing assumes that NPIs are allowable in contexts in which the introduction of the NPI leads to proposition strengthening (e.g., Kadmon & Landman 1993, Krifka 1995, Lahiri 1997, Chierchia 2006). A straightforward processing prediction from such a theory is that NPI’s facilitate inference verification from sets to subsets. Three experiments are reported that test this proposal. In each experiment, participants evaluated whether inferences from sets to subsets were valid. Crucially, we manipulated whether (...)
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  28. Anna Szabolcsi (2005). Overt Infinitival Subjects (If That's What They Are). In Broekhuis (ed.), The Organization of Grammar. Mouton--De Gruyter
    Krifka (1998) argues that stressed postposed additive particles associate with a clausemate constrastive topic, which need not be overt as long as it satisfies the appropriate contextual role. English too is stressed. Of the two Hungarian particles, szintén is stressed, is is not.
     
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  29. Anna Szabolcsi (2004). Positive Polarity - Negative Polarity. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 22 (2):409-452..
    Positive polarity items (PPIs) are generally thought to have the boring property that they cannot scope below negation. The starting point of the paper is the observation that their distribution is significantly more complex; specifically, someone/something-type PPIs share properties with negative polarity items (NPIs). First, these PPIs are disallowed in the same environments that license yet type NPIs; second, adding any NPI-licenser rescues the illegitimate constellation. This leads to the conclusion that these PPIs have the combined properties of yet-type and (...)
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  30. Anna Szabolcsi & Bill Haddican (2004). Conjunction Meets Negation: A Study in Cross-Linguistic Variation. Journal of Semantics 21 (3):219-249.
    The central topic of this inquiry is a cross-linguistic contrast in the interaction of conjunction and negation. In Hungarian (Russian, Serbian, Italian, Japanese), in contrast to English (German), negated definite conjunctions are naturally and exclusively interpreted as `neither’. It is proposed that Hungarian-type languages conjunctions simply replicate the behavior of plurals, their closest semantic relatives. More puzzling is why English-type languages present a different range of interpretations. By teasing out finer distinctions in focus on connectives, syntactic structure, and context, the (...)
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  31. Michael Brody & Anna Szabolcsi (2003). Overt Scope in Hungarian. Syntax 6 (1).
    The focus of this paper is the syntax of inverse scope in Hungarian, a language that largely disambiguates quantifier scope at spell-out. Inverse scope is attributed to alternate orderings of potentially large chunks of structure, but with appeal to base-generation, as opposed to nonfeature-driven movement as in Kayne 1998. The proposal is developed within mirror theory and conforms to the assumption that structures are antisymmetrical. The paper also develops a matching notion of scope in terms of featural domination, as opposed (...)
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  32. Anna Szabolcsi (2003). Binding On the Fly: Cross-Sentential Anaphora in Variable— Free Semantics. In R. Oehrle & J. Kruijff (eds.), Resource Sensitivity, Binding, and Anaphora. Kluwer 215--227.
    Combinatory logic (Curry and Feys 1958) is a “variable-free” alternative to the lambda calculus. The two have the same expressive power but build their expressions differently. “Variable-free” semantics is, more precisely, “free of variable binding”: it has no operation like abstraction that turns a free variable into a bound one; it uses combinators—operations on functions—instead. For the general linguistic motivation of this approach, see the works of Steedman, Szabolcsi, and Jacobson, among others. The standard view in linguistics is that reflexive (...)
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  33. Anna Szabolcsi (2002). Hungarian Disjunctions and Positive Polarity. In Istvan Kenesei & Peter Siptar (eds.), Approaches to Hungarian, Vol. 8. Univ. Of Szeged
    The de Morgan laws characterize how negation, conjunction, and disjunction interact with each other. They are fundamental in any semantics that bases itself on the propositional calculus/Boolean algebra. This paper is primarily concerned with the second law. In English, its validity is easy to demonstrate using linguistic examples. Consider the following: (3) Why is it so cold in here? We didn’t close the door or the window. The second sentence is ambiguous. It may mean that I suppose we did not (...)
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  34. Anna Szabolcsi (2000). The Syntax of Scope. In Mark Baltin & Chris Collins (eds.), Handbook ... Syntax. Blackwell 607--633.
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  35. Filippo Beghelli, Dorit Ben-Shalom & Anna Szabolcsi (1997). Variation, Distributivity, and the Illusion of Branching. In Anna Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Scope Taking. Kluwer 29--69.
    We show in rather informal terms how witness sets can be useful in both explicating some basic intuitions about scope and understanding how particular denotational semantic differences between noun phrases affect their abilities to bear out certain scopal patterns. More generally we suggest that the usual notion of scope needs to be factored into variation distributivity and maximality. This part lays some groundwork for several of the subsequent chapters and is thus of interest to all readers. The second part shows (...)
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  36. Anna Szabolcsi (1997). Background Notions in Lattice Theory and Generalized Quantifiers. In Ways of Scope Taking. Kluwer 1--27.
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  37. Anna Szabolcsi (1997). Introduction to Ways of Scope Taking. In Ways of Scope Taking. Kluwer
    Syntactic and semantic theories of quantificational phenomena traditionally treat all noun phrases alike, thus predicting that noun phrases exhibit a uniform behavior. It is well-known that this is an idealization: in any given case, some noun phrases will support a desired reading more readily than others. Anyone who has lectured on quantifier scope ambiguities to a class of unbrainwashed undergraduates will recall the amount of preparation time that goes into coming up with two or three examples that the class will (...)
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  38. Anna Szabolcsi (1997). Quantifiers in Pair-List Readings. In Ways of Scope Taking. Kluwer 311--347.
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  39. Anna Szabolcsi (1997). Strategies for Scope Taking (1997). In Ways of Scope Taking. Springer
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  40. Anna Szabolcsi (ed.) (1997). Ways of Scope Taking. Kluwer.
    Ways of Scope Taking is concerned with syntactic, semantic and computational aspects of scope. Its starting point is the well-known but often neglected fact that different types of quantifiers interact differently with each other and other operators. The theoretical examination of significant bodies of data, both old and novel, leads to two central claims. (1) Scope is a by-product of a set of distinct Logical Form processes; each quantifier participates in those that suit its particular features. (2) Scope interaction is (...)
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  41. Anna Szabolcsi (1994). The Noun Phrase. In Ferenc Kiefer & Katalin E. Kiss (eds.), The Syntactic Structure of Hungarian. Academic Press
    This chapter makes the following main claims about Hungarian: A. There is a detailed parallelism between the structures of noun phrases (DPs) and clauses (CPs), involving inflection, possessor extraction, and articles as complementizers. B. "HAVE sentences" are existential sentences involving possessor extraction. C. The argument frame of complex event nominals is identical to that of the underlying verb. D. The deverbal affix in nominals may have either a plain verb or a complex verb in its scope.
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  42. Anna Szabolcsi & Frans Zwarts (1993). Weak Islands and an Algebraic Semantics for Scope Taking. Natural Language Semantics 1 (3):235-284.
    Modifying the descriptive and theoretical generalizations of Relativized Minimality, we argue that a significant subset of weak island violations arise when an extracted phrase should scope over some intervener but is unable to. Harmless interveners seem harmless because they can support an alternative reading. This paper focuses on why certain wh-phrases are poor wide scope takers, and offers an algebraic perspective on scope interaction. Each scopal element SE is associated with certain operations (e.g., not with complements). When a wh-phrase scopes (...)
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  43. Anna Szabolcsi (1990). Across-the-Board Binding Meets Verb Second. In M. Nespor & J. Mascaro (eds.), Grammar in progress. Foris
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  44. Anna Szabolcsi (1987). Bound Variables in Syntax (Are There Any?). In J. Groenendijk, F. Veltman & M. Stokhof (eds.), Sixth Amsterdam Colloquium Proceedings. Univ of Amsterdam
    Current theories of grammar handle both extraction and anaphorization by introducing variables into syntactic representations. Combinatory categorial grammar eliminates variables corresponding to gaps. Using the combinator W, the paper extends this approach to anaphors, which appear to act as overt bound variables.
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  45. Anna Szabolcsi (1986). Comparative Superlatives. In N. Fukui, T. Rapoport & E. Sagey (eds.), Anna Szabolcsi 1986 MIT WPL 8. MIT
    I will make the following two main claims: (4) a. Under syntactically specifiable conditions superlatives take sentential scope. b. Sentential scope superlatives are necessarily indefinite.
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  46. Anna Szabolcsi (1982). Compositionality in Focus. Folia Linguistica Europea 15:141-162.
    I believe that the validity of (I = the Fregean principle of compositionality) is beyond. doubt and thus any grammar, whether organized to reflect (I) directly or not, may ultimately be required to satisfy it. One of the systems that are precisely designed to reflect (I) is Montague Grammar, where, technical details aside, it is realized as follows: (2) a. Sentences are composed by putting their constituents together step by step, with no subsequent rearrangement; b. Not only each lexical item (...)
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  47. Anna Szabolcsi (1982). Model Theoretic Semantics of Performatives. In Ferenc Kiefer (ed.), Hungarian General Linguistics. Benjamins
    [...] I will only investigate [Austin's] claims as challenges to present-day model theoretic semantics. My main point will be to draw a sharp line between the semantic and pragmatic aspects of performatives and thereby discover a gap in Austin’s treatment. This will in my view naturally lead to the proposal in Section 2, that is, to treating performatives as denoting changes in intensional models. The rest of Section 2 will be concerned with the status of felicity conditions and a tentative (...)
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  48. Anna Szabolcsi (1981). The Semantics of Topic-Focus Articulation. In Jeroen Groenendijk (ed.), Formal methods in the study of language. U of Amsterdam 2--503.