Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (3):295 - 336 (1996)

This paper presents a generalization of the standard notions of left monotonicity (on the nominal argument of a determiner) and right monotonicity (on the VP argument of a determiner). Determiners such as “more than/at least as many as” or “fewer than/at most as many as”, which occur in so-called propositional comparison, are shown to be monotone with respect to two nominal arguments and two VP-arguments. In addition, it is argued that the standard Generalized Quantifier analysis of numerical determiners such as “more than three/at least three” is a simplification which ignores the fundamental parallellism with the propositional comparatives. Furthermore, the symmetric monotonicity configurations of the existential “some” and “no” are shown to be straightforwardly related to those of numerical comparatives with the limit numeral zero, whereas the asymmetric configurations of universal “all” and “not all” involve the extra complicating mechanism of polarity reversal, which is related to Keenan's notion of co-intersectivity (as opposed to intersectivity). A second aim of the paper is to investigate some of the factors reducing the inferential potential of determiners. Different types of comparative determiners and their modification will be considered in detail. In addition, a systematic interaction will be revealed between the monotonicity properties of the determiners in propositional comparatives and the differ ent types of ellipsis in the “than”-complement. Different degrees of ellipsis are defined in terms of informational dependencies between the “than”-complement and the main clause. A general balancing mechanism is observed by virtue of which an increase in informational dependency is compensated by a reduction of the inferential potential of the comparative determiner. The structure of the paper is as follows. Part two deals with propositional comparison and introduces the two basic monotonicity configurations. Part three distinguishes three types of informational dependencies or ellipsis between the “than”-complement and the main clause. In Section 3.1 the “than”-complement only contains a VP constituent, whereas in Section 3.2. it only consists of a nominal constituent. Section 3.3 considers more complex instances of multiple dependencies. Section 3.4 then looks at the interaction of these three types with the modifier “proportionally”. Part four presents the two basic monotonicity configurations for numerical comparison, whereas part five deals with more complex numerical determiners. Bounding determiners, such as “between five and ten”, and other boolean combinations are discussed in Section 5.1, whereas Section 5.2 goes into approximative determiners involving modifiers such as “only” or “almost”. Section 5.3. is devoted to proportional determiners such as “more than two out of three”. Part six then considers the standard existential and universal quantifiers. Section 6.1 reformulates the standard Generalized Quantifier analysis in comparative terms, whereas Section 6.2 deals with exception determiners of the form “all but five”.
Keywords generalized quantifiers  numerical quantifiers  comparative quantifiers
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DOI 10.1007/BF00628202
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References found in this work BETA

A Natural History of Negation.Laurence Horn - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.
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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