Existentials, predication, and modification

Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):1-50 (2009)
Abstract
This paper offers a new semantic theory of existentials (sentences of the form There be NP pivot XP coda ) in which pivots are (second order) predicates and codas are modifiers. The theory retains the analysis of pivots as denoting generalized quantifiers (Barwise and Cooper 1981; Keenan 1987), but departs from previous analyses in analyzing codas as contextual modifiers on a par with temporal/locative frame adverbials. Existing analyses universally assume that pivots are arguments of some predicate, and that codas are main or secondary predicates. It is shown that these analyses cannot account for the behavior of codas with quantifiers and for the interaction of multiple codas, both of which receive a simple treatment on the proposed theory. The assimilation of codas to frame adverbials explains several semantic properties which have not been analyzed in the semantic literature, and that distinguish existentials from their copular counterparts. Furthermore, it highlights important properties of the semantics of modification and its relation to predication.
Keywords Semantics of existential constructions  Predication  Modification
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-009-9055-4
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References found in this work BETA
Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.Jon Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltan Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2-3):219-261.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2-3):219--61.
Reference to Kinds Across Language.Gennaro Chierchia - 1998 - Natural Language Semantics 6 (4):339-405.

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Citations of this work BETA
How Indefinites Choose Their Scope.Adrian Brasoveanu & Donka F. Farkas - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):1-55.
Context Dependence and Implicit Arguments in Existentials.Itamar Francez - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (1):11-30.

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