Lucinda Driving Too Fast Again—The Scalar Properties of Ambiguous Than-Clauses

Journal of Semantics 30 (1):1-63 (2013)
This paper presents a systematic empirical investigation of so-called Rullmann Ambiguities (The helicopter was flying less high than a plane can fly). It is shown that many examples constructed after this pattern are in fact unambiguous, and that some but not all examples which replace less with ordinary more/-er are ambiguous. An analysis is proposed which takes into account the inferential properties of the degree predicate in the than-clause plus the way contextual information can be integrated into its meaning. The analysis predicts which Rullmann examples are ambiguous and which are not. Consequences for the analysis of comparatives and for the meaning of adjectives are derived
Keywords Semantics  Ambiguity
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DOI 10.1093/jos/ffr011
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