How indefinites choose their scope

Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):1-55 (2011)

Abstract
The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of scope posed by natural language indefinites that captures both the difference in scopal freedom between indefinites and bona fide quantifiers and the syntactic sensitivity that the scope of indefinites does nevertheless exhibit. Following the main insight of choice functional approaches, we connect the special scopal properties of indefinites to the fact that their semantics can be stated in terms of choosing a suitable witness. This is in contrast to bona fide quantifiers, the semantics of which crucially involves relations between sets of entities. We provide empirical arguments that this insight should not be captured by adding choice/Skolem functions to classical first-order logic, but in a semantics that follows Independence-Friendly Logic, in which scopal relations involving existentials are part of the recursive definition of truth and satisfaction. These scopal relations are resolved automatically as part of the interpretation of existentials. Additional support for this approach is provided by dependent indefinites, a cross-linguistically common class of special indefinites that can be straightforwardly analyzed in our semantic framework
Keywords Exceptional scope  (Dependent) indefinites  Choice/Skolem functions  Plural logic  Independence-friendly logic
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-011-9092-7
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References found in this work BETA

Assertion.Robert Stalnaker - 1978 - Syntax and Semantics (New York Academic Press) 9:315-332.
Restrictions on Quantifier Domains.Kai von Fintel - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Compositional Semantics for a Language of Imperfect Information.W. Hodges - 1997 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 5 (4):539-563.

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Citations of this work BETA

Composing Alternatives.Ivano Ciardelli, Floris Roelofsen & Nadine Theiler - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (1):1-36.
Overt Distributivity in Algebraic Event Semantics.Lucas Champollion - 2016 - Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (16):1-65.
Quantifier Particles and Compositionality.Anna Szabolcsi - 2013 - Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.
Why Indefinites Can Escape Scope Islands.Edgar Onea - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (3):237-267.

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