Journal of Logic, Language and Information

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 53–81 | Cite as

On the Identification of Quantifiers’ Witness Sets: A Study of Multi-quantifier Sentences

Article

Abstract

Natural language sentences that talk about two or more sets of entities can be assigned various readings. The ones in which the sets are independent of one another are particularly challenging from the formal point of view. In this paper we will call them ‘Independent Set (IS) readings’. Cumulative and collective readings are paradigmatic examples of IS readings. Most approaches aiming at representing the meaning of IS readings implement some kind of maximality conditions on the witness sets involved. Two kinds of maximization have been proposed in the literature: ‘Local’ and ‘Global’ maximization. In this paper, we present an online questionnaire whose results appear to support Local maximization. The latter seems to capture the proper interplay between the semantics and the pragmatics of multi-quantifier sentences, provided that witness sets are selected on pragmatic grounds.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Logic, Language and ComputationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherland
  3. 3.Institute of Artificial IntelligenceUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherland

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