Existentials, predication, and modification

Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):1-50 (2009)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10988-009-9055-4
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,674
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Gennaro Chierchia (1998). Reference to Kinds Across Language. Natural Language Semantics 6 (4):339-405.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

53 ( #90,978 of 1,903,117 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #264,923 of 1,903,117 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.