The exhaustion particles in the yi group: A unified approach to all, the completive and the superlative

Journal of Semantics 24 (1):27-72 (2007)

The exhaustion particles of the Yi languages are sentence-end morphemes with a surprising wealth of possible interpretations. With gradeable states they convey the meaning of superlative, with accomplishments they function as completive particle, and in ungradeable states, activities or achievements they act as all particles, i.e. as universal non-distributive quantifiers, on the first argument. A unified account of the all -, completive - and superlative -meanings is proposed. It is argued that all three notions basically divide their respective domain into three types: a singular domain type, a quantized domain type and a homogeneous domain type. For events there is also a fourth domain type, the bounded domain type, which does not have an analogy with objects and states. Object-denotations Event-denotations State-denotations Singular Individual OD Punctual ED Ungradeable SD Quantized Quantized OD Quantized ED State with quantized comparison class Bounded — Bounded ED — Homogeneous Homogeneous OD Homogeneous ED State with homogeneous comparison class The all -, the completive - and the superlative -meanings of the exhaustion particles have in common that they are incompatible with entities from the singular domain type, pragmatically implausible with entities from the homogeneous domain type, and compatible with entities from the quantized domain type.
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DOI 10.1093/jos/ffl007
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