Weak vs. strong Readings of donkey sentences and monotonicity inference in a dynamic setting

Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (2):109 - 158 (1994)
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Abstract

In this paper, I show that the availability of what some authors have called the weak reading and the strong reading of donkey sentences with relative clauses is systematically related to monotonicity properties of the determiner. The correlation is different from what has been observed in the literature in that it concerns not only right monotonicity, but also left monotonicity (persistence/antipersistence). I claim that the reading selected by a donkey sentence with a double monotone determiner is in fact the one that validates inference based on the left monotonicity of the determiner. This accounts for the lack of strong reading in donkey sentences with MON determiners, which have been neglected in the literature. I consider the relevance of other natural forms of inference as well, but also suggest how monotonicity inference might play a central role in the actual process of interpretation. The formal theory is couched in dynamic predicate logic with generalized quantifiers.

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Citations of this work

Witnesses.Matthew Mandelkern - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (5):1091-1117.
Semantics with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reasoning with Quantifiers.Bart Geurts - 2003 - Cognition 86 (3):223--251.

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References found in this work

Reference and Generality.P. T. Geach - 1962 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.John Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
Descriptions.Stephen Neale - 1990 - MIT Press.
Dynamic Predicate Logic.Jeroen Groenendijk & Martin Stokhof - 1991 - Linguistics and Philosophy 14 (1):39-100.

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