In this short paper, I analyze the syntax and semantics of the prefix _un_- with gradable adjectives like _unhappy_ and compare it to the syntax and semantics of _not_. Within the framework of Collins and Postal ( 2014 ), I propose that _un_- and _not_ have the same semantics but negate different constituents, accounting for the differences in interpretation.
This paper provides a systematic description and analysis of the non-predictive use of the Italian future. Several authors claim that, on this use, the Italian future is an evidential (Squartini 2001, Mari 2010, Eckardt and Beltrama 2019, Frana and Menéndez-Benito 2019 ). Others argue that the non-predictive future does not directly contribute an evidential signal (e.g., Giannakidou and Mari 2018, Farkas and Ippolito 2022 ). We side with the evidential camp. From an empirical standpoint, we present the results of a (...) battery of tests that show that the non-predictive future patterns with evidentials cross-linguistically. From a theoretical standpoint, we put forward an analysis that combines a slightly modified version of the proposal for evidentials in Davis et al. ( 2007 ) with Schlenker’s ( 2007 ) view of expressive content. On this account, the Italian evidential future (i) lowers the quality threshold required to perform a successful speech act (Davis et al. 2007 ) and (ii) triggers an evidential presupposition relativized to the speaker’s beliefs (modeled after Schlenker’s analysis of expressives). Our treatment of the evidential component as an expressive presupposition opens up a new perspective on the study of evidentiality and highlights the need for further detailed empirical studies exploring the extent to which this perspective is applicable cross-linguistically. (shrink)
Quantificational determiners are often said to be devices for expressing relations. For example, the meaning of _every_ is standardly described as the inclusion relation, with a sentence like _every frog is green_ meaning roughly that the green things include the frogs. Here, we consider an older, non-relational alternative: determiners are tools for creating restricted quantifiers. On this view, determiners specify how many elements of a restricted domain (e.g., the frogs) satisfy a given condition (e.g., being green). One important difference concerns (...) how the determiner treats its two grammatical arguments. On the relational view, the arguments are on a logical par as independent terms that specify the two relata. But on the restricted view, the arguments play distinct logical roles: specifying the limited domain versus supplying an additional condition on domain entities. We present psycholinguistic evidence suggesting that the restricted view better describes what speakers know when they know the meaning of a determiner. In particular, we find that when asked to evaluate sentences of the form _every F is G_, participants mentally group the Fs but not the Gs. Moreover, participants forego representing the group defined by the intersection of F and G. This tells against the idea that speakers understand _every F is G_ as implying that the Fs bear relation (e.g., inclusion) to a second group. (shrink)
This paper offers a compositional analysis of Mandarin universal _wh_’s in construction with an additive/scalar adverb _ye_ ‘also/even’. In the analysis, universal force is derived from exhaustification of the subdomain alternatives activated by _wh_-items under stress, and the tendency of _wh_-_ye_ to appear in negative sentences is explained by the interaction between _ye_ and domain widening. Specifically, the _ye_ in _wh_-_ye_ is argued to be a scalar _ye_ imposing a total order presupposition on its associated set of alternatives. In _wh_-_ye_ (...) it associates with the domain argument of the _wh_, and the requirement can be met by either an ordered _wh_ or a two-point scale \(\langle D',D \rangle \) made available through domain widening, specifically by widening of QUDs. The negative preference follows from the fact that a QUD is most naturally widened when it is settled negatively, as in the case of negatively biased questions with minimizers/maximizers. (shrink)
This study investigates interpretations of the Japanese initial mora-based minimizer “X.Y...”-_no_ “X”-_no ji-mo_ ‘lit. even the letter “X” of “X.Y...”.’ Although initial mora-based minimizers have a literal interpretation of _ji_ ‘letter’, they have a non-literal interpretation as well. The non-literal interpretation has several distinctive features that are not present in ordinary minimizers. First, it is highly productive in that various expressions can appear in the form “X.Y...”-_no_ “X”-_no ji_. Second, non-literal minimizers typically co-occur with predicates that relate to knowledge, information, (...) concepts, thought, and habituality, as seen in the corpus data (Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese [BCCWJ]). I argue that in the non-literal use, X refers to the minimum on the scale of the main predicate concerning “X.Y...”. I suggest that the non-literal use was developed as a result of the conventionalization of the pragmatic inference derived from the literal reading, and that the co-occurrence with predicates related to knowledge, information, knowledge, concepts, thought, or habituality is due to the interpretation of “X.Y...”, which were originally interpreted as letters as an abstract concept. The theoretical implication of this study is that, in addition to a non-compositional (lexically specified) minimizer whose scale is lexically fixed (e.g., _give a damn_, _lift a finger_), there also exists a compositional (lexically unspecified) minimizer in natural language, whose scale is specified via the predicate with which the minimizer co-occurs. The last section of this paper briefly discusses similar/related phenomena in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Korean, and English from a cross-linguistic perspective. (shrink)
This article seeks to reconcile the ‘movement’ account of the interpretation of superlative and comparative degree quantifiers with a class of apparent counterexamples. Superlative and comparative degree quantifiers compare the extent to which a target term and alternatives to the target instantiate a gradable property. On the movement analysis, the target and the gradable property are determined by the scope of the degree quantifier in the syntactic structure. As a structural consequence, terms in the scope of the degree quantifier are (...) indifferent to the presence of the degree quantifier. This leads to incorrect empirical predictions in some contexts, apparently undermining the movement account. I provide an analysis of these contexts in which the unexpected interaction of degree quantifiers with other terms in their scope is a side effect of quantification over situations inherent in the degree quantifier itself. (shrink)
Quantifier Raising usually exhibits finite-clause boundedness due to the syntactic and semantic constraints it is subject to (Fox 1995, 2000, Cecchetto 2004, a.o.). In this paper, I argue that QR out of a Mandarin prenominal pre-determiner RC is not only properly licensed, obeying both syntactic and semantic constraints, but also needed to account for the exceptional-scope effects observed across relative clause boundaries (Huang 1982, Aoun and Li 1993, a.o.). I further consider constructions where the exceptional-scope effects are not present, including (...) relative clauses containing the focus-sensitive operator _dou_ and full-sized subject RCs, and show that the absence of the exceptional-scope effects in these constructions follows directly from the proposed analysis. (shrink)