Research on Language and Computation

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 365-399

First online:

The Pragmatic Dimension of Indefinites

  • Paul DekkerAffiliated withILLC Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam

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This paper sets out to give a natural pragmatic explanation of several aspects of the interpretation of singular indefinite noun phrases. We develop a uniform account of characteristic features of their use which have been dealt with only partly in other semantic paradigms (in particular the dynamic, the E-type and the choice function one). We give an intuitive motivation for the familiar discourse dynamic features of the use of these expressions, and, taking due account of the structuring of information in more involved contexts, account for their behaviour in negated, conditional, quantified, and intensional constructions.

Anaphora Information structure Pragmatics Scope islands Semantics Skolem functions