Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 435–470 | Cite as

A unified approach to split scope

  • Klaus Abels
  • Luisa MartíEmail author


The goal of this paper is to propose a unified approach to the split scope readings of negative indefinites, comparative quantifiers, and numerals. There are two main observations that justify this approach. First, split scope shows the same kinds of restrictions across these different quantifiers. Second, split scope always involves low existential force. In our approach, following Sauerland, natural language determiner quantifiers are quantifiers over choice functions, of type <<<et,e>,t>,t>. In split readings, the quantifier over choice functions scopes above other operators (such as intensional verbs like must or can). Determiner quantifiers leave a choice-function trace when they move and this trace combines with the noun restriction, which is interpreted low. That split scope always involves low existential force is derived, without stipulation, from Kratzer’s idea that low existential force can be achieved via binding (into the noun restriction).


Split scope Negative indefinites Indefinites Comparative quantifiers Numerals Intensional operators Choice functions Pseudo-scope 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics, Chandler HouseUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL), Det Humanistiske FakultetUniversitetet i TromsøTromsøNorway

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