The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of scope posed by natural language indefinites that captures both the difference in scopal freedom between indefinites and bona fide quantifiers and the syntactic sensitivity that the scope of indefinites does nevertheless exhibit. Following the main insight of choice functional approaches, we connect the special scopal properties of indefinites to the fact that their semantics can be stated in terms of choosing a suitable witness. This is in contrast to bona fide (...) quantifiers, the semantics of which crucially involves relations between sets of entities. We provide empirical arguments that this insight should not be captured by adding choice/Skolem functions to classical first-order logic, but in a semantics that follows Independence-Friendly Logic, in which scopal relations involving existentials are part of the recursive definition of truth and satisfaction. These scopal relations are resolved automatically as part of the interpretation of existentials. Additional support for this approach is provided by dependent indefinites, a cross-linguistically common class of special indefinites that can be straightforwardly analyzed in our semantic framework. (shrink)
In this paper, we study the distribution and interpretation of a non-temporal use of the future tense in Italian, called ‘presumptive’ or ‘epistemic’, which we label here PF. We first distinguish PF from its closest modal relatives, namely epistemic necessity/possibility/likelihood modals, as well as weak necessity modals. We then propose an account of PF in declaratives and interrogatives that treats it as a special comparative subjective likelihood modal, and test its empirical predictions. A theoretical lesson drawn from this detailed study (...) of the semantics of PF is that semantics needs sharpened theoretical tools to be able to capture the fine-grained distinctions languages make when it comes to signaling modulated epistemic commitment to a proposition. (shrink)
Languages that have determiners often have a rich inventory of them. In English, indeﬁnite determiners include a(n), some, a certain, this, one, another, cardinals, partitives, the zero determiner of bare plurals (in some analyses), and, according to Horn 1999 and Giannakidou 2001, any. Despite the attention indeﬁnites have received in the literature, characterizing what is common to all of them and what is speciﬁc to each is still an elusive task. This paper investigates the ﬁrst three determiners in this list, (...) attempting to provide a semantic characterization that accounts for their distribution. (For pertinent discussion of issues that overlap to some extent with those taken up below, see Kamp and Bende-Farkas 2002, and for a discussion of the French versions of some and a certain, see Jayez and Tovena (this volume).) The Ds that concern us here share two characteristics: (i) they are indeﬁnite, and (ii) they are existential when not in the scope of any operator or quantiﬁer. As seen in , they may occur as pivots in existential there constructions, and therefore all three form weak DPs. (shrink)
The aim of this series is to make exploratory work that employs new linguistic data, extending the scope or domain of current theoretical proposals, available to a wide audience. These monographs will provide an insightful generalization..
The paper rst lays out a non-congurational approach to scope ambiguities in which scope dependencies are treated as dependencies between evaluation indices of variables. The notions of dependent and domain variables are dened naturally in this framework. These concepts are then used to account for the distribution and interpretation of determiner reduplication in Hungarian, a phenomenon that has not received much attention so far.1 1. Introduction This paper contributes to the study of the semantics of indenites in natural language by (...) introducing on the scene a new type of indenite, called dependent. We meet it in Hungarian, where one may reduplicate certain determiners, as illustrated in -. (shrink)
In the extensive literature on the semantics of noun phrases, the most commonly encountered paramters of classification concern the semantic type of their denotation, the distinction between familiarity and novelty, meant primarily to differentiate definites from indefinites, the strong/weak distinction, or that between quantificational and non−quantificational noun phrases, as well as, most recently, that between choice−functional and non−choice−functional DPs (Reinhart 1997, Kratzer 1998, Matthewson 1999).
In this paper, we study the parameters that come into play when assessing the truth conditions of say reports and contrast them with belief attributions. We argue that these conditions are sensitive in intricate ways to the connection between the interpretation of the complement of say and the properties of the reported speech act. There are three general areas this exercise is relevant to, besides the immediate issue of understanding the meaning of say: (i) the discussion shows the need to (...) go beyond the simplest view of propositional attitudes, which treats them as restricted quantifiers over worlds; (ii) the complex connections that must exist between the say report and its source speech act show that one has to be able to differentiate between various layers of meaning for the antecedent sentences; (iii) finally, this paper is a small step towards a typology of propositional attitudes that allows us to uncover the complex web of relationships that grammatical mood is sensitive to. (shrink)
1 The notion of specicity has played a signicant role in linguistic theory both in the elds of semantics and, increasingly, in work on syntax/semantics interface., Abbott, Kripke, Fodor and Sag, Higginbotham and Enc among many others; see also Pesetsky, Szabolcsi and Zwarts, Diesing, Dobrovie- Sorin, E. Kiss, Mahajan, and Chung for work where specicity is discussed in connection with syntactic matters.) Specicity is interesting for the student of semantics because it is crucially relevant to establishing varieties of reference. For (...) the syntactician, the notion of specicity comes up when attempting to account for the use of various case markers on DOs in languages as diverse as Romanian, Turkish, and Hindi, or when attempting to account for the full spectrum of judgments concerning weak island violations and the interpretation of multiple wh-questions. The rst point I will argue for is that there are several distinct notions of specicity that should be kept apart. More specically, I will argue that there are at least three. The discussion inevitably leads to Fodor and Sag's ambiguity claim, which in turn leads to the issue of the possible scopes of indenite noun phrases versus the possible scope of quanticational noun phrases. Section 3 will establish the relevant empirical generalizations concerning simple indenites and distributives, and Section 4 captures them within a non-congurational theory of scope proposed in Farkas and Farkas. (shrink)
The immediate aim of this paper is to account for the use and interpretation of polarity particles in general, and of the Romanian polarity particles da/nu/ba in particular. We exemplify the uses of da and nu in (1) and (3) respectively.
and Data The essence of scope in natural language semantics can be characterized as follows: an expression e1 takes scope over an expression e2 iff the interpretation of the former affects the interpretation of the latter. Consider, for example, the sentence in (1) below, which is typical of the cases discussed in this paper in that it involves an indefinite and a universal (or, more generally, a non-existential) quantifier. (1) Everyx student in my class read ay paper about scope. How (...) can we tell whether the indefinite in (1) is in the scope of the universal or not? We can answer this question in two ways. From a dependence-based perspective, Q y is in the scope of Qx if the values of the variable y (possibly) covary with the values of x. From an independence-based perspective, Q y is outside the scope of Qx if y’s value is fixed relative to the values of x. This brings us to the first of our two central questions: should the scopal properties of ordinary, ‘unmarked’ indefinites be characterized in terms of dependence or in terms of independence? The difference between these two conceptualizations is that a dependence-based approach establishes which quantifier(s) Q y is dependent on, while an independence-based approach establishes which quantifier(s) Q y is independent of. Logical semantics has taken both paths to the notion of scope: compare the standard, dependence-based semantics of first-order logic (FOL) – or the dependence-driven Skolemization procedure – with the independence-based semantics of Independence-Friendly Logic (IFL, Hintikka 1973, Sandu 1993, Hodges 1997, Väänänen 2007 among others). Natural language semantics has only taken the dependence-based path. (shrink)
The notion of specificity in linguistics is notoriously non-specific. We consider here various distinctions within the realm of noun phrase semantics that are relevant to specificity. The common thread uniting these distinctions is the notion of variation in value assignments for the variable introduced by the noun phrase. The distinctions concern the nature of the variation involved. The first part of the paper (Section 2) is devoted to the definite/indefinite divide and proposes a dynamic parameter of 'determinacy of reference' which (...) attempts to capture what is common to uniqueness and.. (shrink)
The paper proposes a novel account to the problem of exceptional scope (ES) of (in)definites, e.g. the widest and intermediate scope readings of the sentence Every student of mine read every poem that a famous Romanian poet wrote before World War II. We propose that ES readings are available when the sentence is interpreted as anaphoric to quantificational domains and quantificational dependencies introduced in the previous discourse. For example, the two every quantifiers and the indefinite elaborate on the sets of (...) individuals and the correlations between them introduced by a previous sentence like Every student chose a poet and read every poem written by him (for the intermediate scope reading) or a sentence like Every student chose a poet - the same poet - and read every poem written by him (for the widest scope reading). Our account, formulated within a compositional dynamic system couched in classical type logic, relies on two independently motivated assumptions: (a) the discourse context stores not only (sets of) individuals, but also quantificational dependencies between them, and (b) quantifier domains are always contextually restricted. Under this analysis, (in)definites are unambiguous and we do not resort to movement or special storage mechanisms, nor do weposit special choice-functional variables. (shrink)
This paper explores the determiner corner of the ‘any’ land in Romanian, taking Lee and Horn 1994 and Horn 2000a as tour guides. The immediate interest of the task lies in the fact that the work done in English by the over-employed determiner any is carried out in Romanian by a host of more specialized (and, one fears, lower paid) morphemes, which I review in the rest of this section. My aim is to introduce the details of the Romanian facts (...) onto the scene and to show that an ‘indefinitist’ view that generalizes the scalar approach advocated in Horn’s work is useful in helping us understand the much more crowded Romanian field. The theory of any that serves as my starting point is summarized in Section 2. Section 3 proposes a generalization of the scalar view advocated by Horn in terms of an alternative-based approach in the spirit of Krifka 1995, Giannakidou 2001 and Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002, based on a novel way of defining alternatives. Section 4 looks at the consequences of the proposal, Section 5 considers ways of extending it, and Section 6 is a brief conclusion. The approach suggested here falls under what Horn calls quodlibetic theories. Its claim is that the unifying characteristic of both existentially and universally flavored free choice-like items is that they denote a maximal set of alternatives that verify the expression in which the item occurs. The scalar view is the important special case in which these alternatives form an implicational scale with respect to verifying the relevant expression. (shrink)
This paper proposes an account of the distribution and role of a set of particles in Hungarian dubbed `polarity particles', which include igen `yes', nem `no', and de `but'. These particles occur at the leftmost edge of a class of assertions uttered as reactions to an immediately preceding assertion or polar question. It is argued that they express two sets of features typical of the class of reactive assertions they occur in, one set encoding the polarity of the asserted sentence, (...) and the other encoding the relation of the asserted sentence to the immediately preceding utterance. The discussion is set against an explicit approach to context structure and to assertive and polar questioning speech acts that draws on a number of pre-existing proposals in the literature. (shrink)