Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 431–475 | Cite as

Situation pronouns in determiner phrases

  • Florian SchwarzEmail author


It is commonly argued that natural language has the expressive power of quantifying over intensional entities, such as times, worlds, or situations. A standard way of modelling this assumes that there are unpronounced but syntactically represented variables of the corresponding type. Not all that much as has been said, however, about the exact syntactic location of these variables. Meanwhile, recent work has highlighted a number of problems that arise because the interpretive options for situation pronouns seem to be subject to various restrictions. This paper is primarily concerned with situation pronouns inside of determiner phrases, arguing that they are introduced as arguments of (certain) determiners. Verbal predicates, on the other hand, are assumed to not combine with a situation pronoun. The various restrictions on their interpretation are shown to fall out from the semantic system that is developed based on that view. Further support for such an account comes from situation semantic analyses of donkey sentences as well as data on the temporal interpretation of nominal predicates. Its ability to account for this full range of data in a unified manner is shown to set it apart from previous proposals. The paper closes with an outlook on further extensions, including an account of quantifier domain restriction based on situation pronouns.


Intensionality Situation semantics Transparent interpretations Determiners Quantifiers 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics & Institute for Research in Cognitive ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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