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Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (4):353 - 422 (1993)

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  1. A Question of Strength: On NPIs in Interrogative Clauses. [REVIEW]Yael Sharvit - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):361 - 391.
    We observe that the facts pertaining to the acceptability of negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) in interrogative environments are more complex than previously noted. Since Klima [Klima, E. (1964). In J. Fodor & J. Katz (Eds.), The structure of language. Prentice-Hall], it has been typically assumed that NPIs are grammatical in both matrix and embedded questions, however, on closer scrutiny it turns out that there are differences between root and embedded environments, and between question nucleus and wh-restrictor. While NPIs are (...)
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  • Chamorro Evidence for Compositional Asymmetry.Sandra Chung & William A. Ladusaw - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (4):325-357.
    In earlier work, we developed an composition in which predicates can be composed with arguments by operations other than Function Application, and it makes a difference which composition operation is employed. Here we take our approach further by examining two nonsaturating operations that combine property contents: Restrict, which composes a predicate with the property content of an indefinite; and Modify, which is involved in predicate modification. Nonsaturating operations that combine property contents are often formalized in terms of predicate intersection, which (...)
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  • Intervention Effects on NPIs and Feature Movement: Towards a Unified Account of Intervention. [REVIEW]Elena Guerzoni - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (4):359-398.
    In this paper, I explore the possibility of understanding locality restrictions on the distribution of Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) as a consequence of covert movement. The present proposal restates Linebarger’s Immediate Scope Constraint in terms of morphology-driven checking requirements. These requirements cannot be met if a blocking element intervenes between the NPI feature and its morphosemantic licenser at Logical Form (LF). The empirical generalization is that the class of NPI ‘blocking expressions’ (a.k.a. ‘interveners’) overlaps to a large extent with interveners (...)
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  • Polarity Sensitivity as Lexical Semantics.M. Israel - 1996 - Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (6):619 - 666.
  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
  • Minimizers, Maximizers and the Rhetoric of Scalar Reasoning.M. Israel - 2001 - Journal of Semantics 18 (4):297-331.
    This paper examines the lexicalization patterns of polarity items with a view to understanding the range of possible polarity items and the reasons why such forms should exist in the first place. My starting point is the Scalar Model of Polarity (Israel 1996, 1998), which predicts a reliable correlation between a polarity item's sensitivity and its scalar semantic properties: specifically, it predicts that forms denoting a minimal scalar degree may be emphatic negative polarity items (NPIs), while forms denoting maximal degrees (...)
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  • Specificity and Definiteness in Sentence and Discourse Structure.K. von Heusinger - 2002 - Journal of Semantics 19 (3):245-274.
    The paper gives a contrastive analysis of the two semantic categories specificity and definiteness. It argues against the traditional picture that assumes that specific expressions are a subclass of indefinite NPs. The paper rather assumes that the two categories are independent of each other. Definiteness expresses the discourse pragmatic property of familiarity, while specificity mirrors a more finely grained referential structure of the items used in the discourse. A specific NP indicates that it is referentially anchored to another discourse object. (...)
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  • Free Choiceness and Non-Individuation.Jacques Jayez & Lucia M. Tovena - 2005 - Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (1):1 - 71.
    . Fresh evidence from Free Choice Items (FCIs) in French question the current perception of the class. The role of some standard distinctions found in the literature is weakened or put in a new perspective. The distinction between universal and existential is no longer an intrinsic property of FCIs. Similarly, the opposition between variation-based vs intension-based analyses is relativized. We show that the regime of free choiceness can be characterized by an abstract constraint, that we call Non-Individuation (NI), and which (...)
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  • Epistemic Determiners.J. Jayez - 2006 - Journal of Semantics 23 (3):217-250.
    The present paper offers a contrastive examination of French items that require some knowledge of the speaker and items that require some ignorance. We relate this difference in a systematic way to the well–known problem of ‘identifiability’ in epistemic logic. In addition to providing a more precise analysis, this identification-based investigation leads us to two findings. First, non-identification (‘ignorance’) is actually a particular manifestation of the more general phenomenon of free-choiceness, which has received much attention lately. Studying non-identification helps us (...)
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  • Licensing and Sensitivity in Polarity Items: From Downward Entailment to (Non)Veridicality.Anastasia Giannakidou - manuscript
    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.
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  • Only, Emotive Factive Verbs, and the Dual Nature of Polarity Dependency.Anastasia Giannakidou - manuscript
    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, (...)
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  • The Epistemics of Presupposition Projection.Jan van Eijck & Christina Unger - 2007 - In Dekker Aloni (ed.), Proceedings of the Sixteenth Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 235-240.
    We carry out the Karttunen-Stalnaker pragmatic account of presupposition projection within a state-of-the art version of dynamic epistemic logic. It turns out that the basic projection facts can all be derived from a Gricean maxim ‘be informative’. This sheds light on a recent controversy on the appropriateness of dynamic semantics as a tool for analysing presupposition.
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  • Quantifier Particles and Compositionality.Anna Szabolcsi - 2013 - 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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  • Formal Semantics: Origins, Issues, Early Impact.Barbara H. Partee - 2010 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6 (1).
    Formal semantics is an approach to SEMANTICS1, the study of meaning, with roots in logic, the philosophy of language, and linguistics, and since the 1980’s a core area of linguistic theory. Characteristics of formal semantics to be treated in this article include the following: Formal semanticists treat meaning as mind-independent (though abstract), contrasting with the view of meanings as concepts “in the head” (see I-LANGUAGE AND E-LANGUAGE and MEANING EXTERNALISM AND INTERNALISM); formal semanticists distinguish semantics from knowledge of semantics (Lewis (...)
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  • Only: A Case Study In Projective Meaning.Craige Roberts - 2010 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6 (1):14.
    I offer an integrated theory of the meaning of only in which the prejacent, while not presupposed, is both entailed and backgrounded, hence tends to project . Moreover, I argue, contra Beaver & Brady , that only is not conventionally associated with focus, the focus effects arising instead pragmatically. But I do adopt aspects of their semantics for only, including the presupposition of a pre-order over the elements of its domain.
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  • Superlative Quantifiers as Modifiers of Meta-Speech Acts.Ariel Cohen & Manfred Krifka - 2011 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6:11.
    The superlative quantifiers, at least and at most, are commonly assumed to have the same truth-conditions as the comparative quantifiers more than and fewer than. However, as Geurts & Nouwen have demonstrated, this is wrong, and several theories have been proposed to account for them. In this paper we propose that superlative quantifiers are illocutionary operators; specifically, they modify meta-speech acts.Meta speech-acts are operators that do not express a speech act, but a willingness to make or refrain from making a (...)
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  • The Logical Form of Universal Generalizations.Alice Drewery - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):373 – 393.
    First order logic does not distinguish between different forms of universal generalization; in this paper I argue that lawlike and accidental generalizations (broadly construed) have a different logical form, and that this distinction is syntactically marked in English. I then consider the relevance of this broader conception of lawlikeness to the philosophy of science.
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  • Novel ERP Evidence for Processing Differences Between Negative and Positive Polarity Items in German.Mingya Liu, Peter König & Jutta L. Mueller - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Free Choice, Modals, and Imperatives.Maria Aloni - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (1):65-94.
    The article proposes an analysis of imperatives and possibility and necessity statements that (i) explains their differences with respect to the licensing of free choice any and (ii) accounts for the related phenomena of free choice disjunction in imperatives, permissions, and statements. Any and or are analyzed as operators introducing sets of alternative propositions. Free choice licensing operators are treated as quantifiers over these sets. In this way their interpretation can be sensitive to the alternatives any and or introduce in (...)
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  • Towards a Uniform Analysis of Any.Robert van Rooij - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (4):297-315.
    In this paper, Universal any and Negative Polarity Item any are uniformly analyzed as ‘counterfactual’ donkey sentences (in disguise). Their difference in meaning is reduced here to the distinction between strong and weak readings of donkey sentences. It is shown that this explains the universal and existential character of Universal- and NPI-any, respectively, and the positive and negative contexts in which they are licensed. Our uniform analysis extends to the use of any in command and permission sentences. It predicts that (...)
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  • The Effect of Negative Polarity Items on Inference Verification.Anna Szabolcsi, Lewis Bott & Brian McElree - 2008 - 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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  • Wird Schon Stimmen! A Degree Operator Analysis of Schon.Malte Zimmermann - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
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  • Modularity and Intuitions in Formal Semantics: The Case of Polarity Items.Emmanuel Chemla, Vincent Homer & Daniel Rothschild - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (6):537-570.
    Linguists often sharply distinguish the different modules that support linguistics competence, e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics. However, recent work has identified phenomena in syntax (polarity sensitivity) and pragmatics (implicatures), which seem to rely on semantic properties (monotonicity). We propose to investigate these phenomena and their connections as a window into the modularity of our linguistic knowledge. We conducted a series of experiments to gather the relevant syntactic, semantic and pragmatic judgments within a single paradigm. The comparison between these quantitative data leads (...)
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  • NPI Any and Connected Exceptive Phrases.Jon Gajewski - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (1):69-110.
    This paper addresses two puzzles in the semantics of connected exceptive phrases (EP): (i) the compatibility of EPs modifying noun phrases headed by the negative polarity item (NPI) determiner any and (ii) the ability of a negative universal quantifier modified by an EP to license strong NPIs. Previous analyses of EPs are shown to fail to solve these puzzles. A new unified solution to the two puzzles is proposed. The crucial insight of the analysis is to allow von Fintel’s (Natural (...)
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  • Negative Polarity Illusions and the Format of Hierarchical Encodings in Memory.Dan Parker & Colin Phillips - 2016 - Cognition 157:321-339.
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  • Modal Indefinites.Luis Alonso-Ovalle & Paula Menéndez-Benito - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (1):1-31.
    Across languages, we find indefinites that trigger modal inferences. This article contributes to a semantic typology of these items by contrasting Spanish algún with indefinites like German irgendein or Italian uno qualsiasi. While irgendein-type indefinites trigger a Free Choice effect (Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002; Chierchia 2006), algún simply signals that at least two individuals in its domain are possibilities. Additionally, algún, but not irgendein, can convey that the speaker does not know how many individuals satisfy the existential claim in the (...)
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  • On Universal Free Choice Items.Paula Menéndez-Benito - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (1):33-64.
    This paper deals with the interpretation and distribution of universal Free Choice (FC) items, such as English FC any or Spanish cualquiera. Crosslinguistically, universal FC items can be characterized as follows. First, they have a restricted distribution. Second, they express freedom of choice: the sentence You can take any card conveys the information that the addressee is free to pick whichever card she chooses. Under standard assumptions, the truth conditions of sentences like You can take any card are taken to (...)
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  • Indefinites in Comparatives.Maria Aloni & Floris Roelofsen - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (2):145-167.
    The goal of this paper is to explain the meaning and distribution of indefinites in comparatives, focusing on English some and any and German irgend-indefinites. We consider three competing theories of comparatives in combination with an alternative semantics of some and any, and a novel account of stressed irgend-indefinites. One of the resulting accounts, based on Heim’s analysis of comparatives, predicts all the relevant differences in quantificational force, and explains why free choice indefinites are licensed in comparatives.
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  • Scalar Additive Particles in Negative Contexts.Bernhard Schwarz - 2005 - Natural Language Semantics 13 (2):125-168.
  • Negative Polarity as Scope Marking.Chris Barker - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (5):483-510.
    What is the communicative value of negative polarity? That is, why do so many languages maintain a stock of special indefinites that occur only in a proper subset of the contexts in which ordinary indefinites can appear? Previous answers include: marking the validity of downward inferences; marking the invalidity of veridical inferences; or triggering strengthening implications. My starting point for exploring a new answer is the fact that an NPI must always take narrow scope with respect to its licensing context. (...)
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  • On the Distribution of NPIs in Korean.Duk-Ho An - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):317-350.
    In this paper, I offer a novel solution to the well-known problem concerning two polarity items in Korean, amu-(N)-to and amu-(N)-rato, that show a complementary distribution within the set of typical NPI-licensing contexts. I present a uniform analysis of the distribution of these NPIs, where the complementary distribution follows from the opposite scope properties of the emphatic particles to and rato contained in the NPIs in question. As the- oretical background, I adopt Karttunen and Peters’s (1979, Syntax and Semantics 11: (...)
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  • Generic One, Arbitrary PRO, and the First Person.Friederike Moltmann - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (3):257–281.
    The generic pronoun 'one' (or its empty counterpart, arbitrary PRO) exhibits a range of properties that show a special connection to the first person, or rather the relevant intentional agent (speaker, addressee, or described agent). The paper argues that generic 'one' involves generic quantification in which the predicate is applied to a given entity ‘as if’ to the relevant agent himself. This is best understood in terms of simulation, a central notion in some recent developments in the philosophy of mind (...)
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  • Exception Sentences and Polyadic Quantification.Friederike Moltmann - 1995 - Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (3):223 - 280.
    In this paper, I have proposed a compositional semantic analysis of exception NPs from which three core properties of exception constructions could be derived. I have shown that this analysis overcomes various empirical and conceptual shortcomings of prior proposals of the semantics of exception sentences. The analysis was first formulated for simple exception NPs, where the EP-complement was considered a set-denoting term and the EP-associate was a monadic quantifier. It was then generalized in two steps: first, in order to account (...)
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  • Assessing the Role of Experimental Evidence for Interface Judgment: Licensing of Negative Polarity Items, Scalar Readings, and Focus.Anastasia Giannakidou & Urtzi Etxeberria - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Licensing Strong NPIs.Jon R. Gajewski - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (2):109-148.
    This paper proposes that both weak and strong NPIs in English are sensitive to the downward entailingness of their licensers. It is also proposed, however, that these two types of NPIs pay attention to different aspects of the meaning of their environment. As observed by von Fintel and Chierchia, weak NPIs do not attend to the scalar implicatures of presuppositions of their licensers. Strong NPIs see both the truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional (scalar implications, presuppositions) meaning of their licensers. This theory accounts (...)
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  • Superlative Quantifiers and Meta-Speech Acts.Ariel Cohen & Manfred Krifka - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (1):41-90.
    Recent research has shown that the superlative quantifiers at least and at most do not have the same type of truth conditions as the comparative quantifiers more than and fewer than. We propose that superlative quantifiers are interpreted at the level of speech acts. We relate them to denegations of speech acts, as in I don’t promise to come, which we analyze as excluding the speech act of a promise to come. Calling such conversational acts that affect future permissible speech (...)
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  • Non-Monotonicity in NPI Licensing.Luka Crnič - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (2):169-217.
    The distribution of the focus particle even is constrained: if it is adjoined at surface structure to an expression that is entailed by its focus alternatives, as in even once, it must be appropriately embedded to be acceptable. This paper focuses on the context-dependent distribution of such occurrences of even in the scope of non-monotone quantifiers. We show that it is explained on the assumption that even can move at LF Syntax and semantics, 1979). The analysis is subsequently extended to (...)
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  • There is No Number Effect in the Licensing of Negative Polarity Items: A Reply to Guerzoni and Sharvit. [REVIEW]Jack Hoeksema - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (4):397-407.
    Guerzoni and Sharvit (Linguistics and Philosophy 30:361–391, 2007) provide an argument that plural, but not singular, wh-phrases may contain a negative polarity item in their restriction, and connect this with the semantic property of exhaustivity. I will show that this claim is factually incorrect, and that the theory of negative polarity licensing does not need to be complicated by taking number distinctions into account. In addition, I will argue that number distinctions do not appear to be relevant for polarity items (...)
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  • What Man Does.Eric McCready - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (6):671-724.
    This paper considers the meaning and use of the English particle man . It is shown that the particle does quite different things when it appears in sentence-initial and sentence-final position; the first use involves expression of an emotional attitude as well as, on a particular intonation, intensification; this use is analyzed using a semantics for degree predicates along with a separate dimension for the expressive aspect. Further restrictions on modification with the sentence-initial particle involving monotonicity and evidence are introduced (...)
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  • Sarcasm, Pretense, and The Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction.Elisabeth Camp - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):587 - 634.
    Traditional theories of sarcasm treat it as a case of a speaker's meaning the opposite of what she says. Recently, 'expressivists' have argued that sarcasm is not a type of speaker meaning at all, but merely the expression of a dissociative attitude toward an evoked thought or perspective. I argue that we should analyze sarcasm in terms of meaning inversion, as the traditional theory does; but that we need to construe 'meaning' more broadly, to include illocutionary force and evaluative attitudes (...)
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  • Relative Truth and the First Person.Friederike Moltmann - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (2):187-220..
    In recent work on context­dependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...)
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  • Evidence Sensitivity in Weak Necessity Deontic Modals.Alex Silk - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):691-723.
    Kolodny and MacFarlane have made a pioneering contribution to our understanding of how the interpretation of deontic modals can be sensitive to evidence and information. But integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard Kratzerian framework for modals suggests ways of capturing the relevant data without treating deontic modals as “informational modals” in their sense. I show that though one such way of capturing the data within the standard semantics fails, an alternative does not. Nevertheless I argue that we have (...)
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  • The Semantics of Plural Indefinite Noun Phrases in Spanish and Portuguese.Luisa Martí - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (1):1-37.
    In this paper I provide a decompositional analysis of three kinds of plural indefinites in two related languages, European Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. The three indefinites studied are bare plurals, the unos (Spanish)/uns (Portuguese) type, and the algunos (Spanish)/alguns (Portuguese) type. The paper concentrates on four properties: semantic plurality, positive polarity, partitivity, and event distribution. The logic underlying the analysis is that of compositionality, applied at the subword level: as items become bigger in form (with the addition of morphemes), they (...)
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  • Mood and Gradability: An Investigation of the Subjunctive Mood in Spanish.Elisabeth Villalta - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (4):467-522.
    In Spanish (and other Romance languages) certain predicates select the subjunctive mood in the embedded clause, while others select the indicative mood. In this paper, I present a new analysis for the predicates that select the subjunctive mood in Spanish that is based on a semantics of comparison. The main generalization proposed here is the following: in Spanish, a predicate selects the subjunctive mood in its embedded proposition if the proposition is compared to its contextual alternatives on a scale introduced (...)
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  • No More Shall We Part: Quantifiers in English Comparatives.Peter Alrenga & Christopher Kennedy - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (1):1-53.
    It is well known that the interpretation of quantificational expressions in the comparative clause poses a serious challenge for semantic analyses of the English comparative. In this paper, we develop a new analysis of the comparative clause designed to meet this challenge, in which a silent occurrence of the negative degree quantifier no interacts with other quantificational expressions to derive the observed range of interpretations. Although our analysis incorporates ideas from previous analyses, we show that it is able to account (...)
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  • Hey Little Sister, Who's the Only One? Modulating Informativeness in the Resolution of Privative Ambiguity.Francesca Foppolo, Marco Marelli, Luisa Meroni & Andrea Gualmini - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (7):1646-1674.
    We present two eye-tracking experiments on the interpretation of sentences like “The tall girl is the only one that …,” which are ambiguous between the anaphoric and the exophoric interpretation. These interpretations differ in informativeness: in a positive context, the exophoric reading entails the anaphoric, while in a negative context the entailment pattern is reversed and the anaphoric reading is the strongest one. We tested whether adults rely on considerations about informativeness in solving the ambiguity. The results show that participants (...)
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  • Free Choice of Alternatives.Anamaria Fălăuş - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (2):121-173.
    This paper contributes to the semantic typology of dependent indefinites, by accounting for the distribution and interpretation of the Romanian indefinite vreun. It is shown that its occurrences are restricted to negative polarity and a subset of modal contexts. More specifically, the study of its behavior in intensional environments reveals that vreun is systematically incompatible with non-epistemic operators, a restriction we capture by proposing a novel empirical generalization (‘the epistemic constraint’). To account for the observed pattern, we adopt the unitary (...)
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  • The Scope of Even.Karina Wilkinson - 1996 - Natural Language Semantics 4 (3):193-215.
    This paper is about even in downward entailing contexts. Karttunen and Peters (1979) have shown that there are two different sets of implicatures of even in such contexts. They argue that the two sets of implicatures are derived by allowing even to take scope either higher or lower than a negative polarity licenser. Rooth (1985) argues that even is lexically ambiguous, that is, there is a negative polarity even. I argue against Rooth's ambiguity theory and show that within Rooth's theory (...)
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