Natural Language Semantics 23 (2):119-156 (2015)

In the study of natural language quantification, much recent attention has been devoted to the investigation of verification procedures associated with the proportional quantifier most. The aim of these studies is to go beyond the traditional characterization of the semantics of most, which is confined to explicating its truth-functional and presuppositional content as well as its combinatorial properties, as these aspects underdetermine the correct analysis of most. The present paper contributes to this effort by presenting new experimental evidence in support of a decompositional analysis of most according to which it is a superlative construction built from a gradable predicate many or much and the superlative operator -est. Our evidence comes in the form of verification profiles for sentences like Most of the dots are blue which, we argue, reflect the existence of a superlative reading of most. This notably contrasts with Lidz et al.’s results. To reconcile the two sets of data, we argue, it is necessary to take important differences in task demands into account, which impose limits on the conclusions that can be drawn from these studies.
Keywords Quantification  Superlatives  Experimental design  Language processing  Semantics–cognition interface  Most
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DOI 10.1007/s11050-015-9113-0
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References found in this work BETA

Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.John Barwise & Robin Cooper - 1981 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language.Jon Barwise - 1980 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4:159.

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Citations of this work BETA

Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
Ignorance Implicatures and Non-Doxastic Attitude Verbs.Kyle H. Blumberg - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.

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