Research Article

Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 93-168

First online:

Sentence-internal different as quantifier-internal anaphora

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The paper proposes the first unified account of deictic/sentence-external and sentence-internal readings of singular different. The empirical motivation for such an account is provided by a cross-linguistic survey and an analysis of the differences in distribution and interpretation between singular different, plural different and same (singular or plural) in English. The main proposal is that distributive quantification temporarily makes available two discourse referents within its nuclear scope, the values of which are required by sentence-internal uses of singular different to be distinct, much as its deictic uses require the values of two discourse referents to be distinct. Thus, we take sentence-internal readings to be a form of ‘association with distributivity’ that is similar to association with focus. The contrast between singular different, plural different and same is explained in terms of several kinds of quantificational distributors that license their internal readings. The analysis is executed in a stack-based dynamic system couched in type logic, so we get compositionality in the usual Montagovian way. Quantificational subordination and dependent indefinites in various languages provide additional motivation for the account. Investigating the connections between items with sentence-internal readings and the quantificational licensors of these readings opens up a larger project of formally investigating (i) the typology of quantificational distributors and distributivity-dependent items and (ii) the fine-grained contexts of evaluation needed to capture this typological variation.


Sentence-internal readings Distributivity Different Same Dynamic plural logic