Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 237–283

Optionality, Scope, and Licensing: An Application of Partially Ordered Categories


DOI: 10.1007/s10849-008-9060-y

Cite this article as:
Bernardi, R. & Szabolcsi, A. J of Log Lang and Inf (2008) 17: 237. doi:10.1007/s10849-008-9060-y


This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is given by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators.


Partial orderResiduationGalois-connectionBoolean connectivesTyped feature structuresNatural language syntaxScopePolarity itemsLicensingOptionality

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Computer ScienceFree University of Bozen-BolzanoBozen-BolzanoItaly
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA