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Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 145–189 | Cite as

Quantification and the Nature of Crosslinguistic Variation

  • Lisa Matthewson
Article

Abstract

The standard analysis of quantification says that determiner quantifiers (such as every) take an NP predicate and create a generalized quantifier. The goal of this paper is to subject these beliefs to crosslinguistic scrutiny. I begin by showing that in St'á'imcets (Lillooet Salish), quantifiers always require sisters of argumental type, and the creation of a generalized quantifier from an NP predicate always proceeds in two steps rather than one. I then explicitly adopt the strong null hypothesis that the denotations of quantifiers should be crosslinguistically uniform. Since the Salish data cannot be captured by the usual analysis of English, I pursue the idea that English is reducible to the Salish pattern. Reanalysis of many English constructions is required. I argue that the reanalysis has advantages over the standard analysis for partitives, as well as for non-partitive all- and most-phrases, which I analyze as containing bare plurals of argumental type. Even where the new analysis faces some challenges (for example, with every), the attempt still leads to fruitful results. It forces us to view familiar constructions in a new light, and to redefine, I believe correctly, which quantificational constructions are ‘basic’ and which stand in need of further explanation.

Keywords

Null Hypothesis Standard Analysis Generalize Quantifier Salish Data Usual Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Matthewson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst, South College, Amherst

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