Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Quantifying into Question Acts

Abstract

Quantified NPs in questions may lead to an interpretation in which the NP quantifies into the question. Which dish did every guest bring? can be understood as: 'For every guest x: which dish did x bring?'. After a review of previous approaches that tried to capture this quantification formally or to explain it away, it is argued that such readings involve quantification into speech acts. As the algebra of speech acts is more limited than a Boolean algebra – it only contains conjunction, not disjunction or negation – it is predicted that only universal quantifiers can scope out of questions or other speech acts. The approach is extended to indirect questions, which either are embedded speech acts or coerced to denote the true answers, depending on the embedding verb; in the latter case a Boolean structure results, and we find wide-scope readings of non-universal quantifiers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

REFERENCES

  1. Barwise, Jon and Cooper, Robin: 1981, ‘Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language’, Linguistics and Philosophy 4, 159–219.

  2. Beghelli, Filippo: 1997, ‘The Syntax of Distributivity and Pair–List Readings’, in A. Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Scope Taking, pp. 349–408, Kluwer, Dordrecht.

  3. Belnap, Nuel D., and Thomas B. Steel: 1976, The Logic of Questions and Answers, Yale University Press, New Haven.

  4. Berman, Stephen: 1989, ‘An Analysis of Quantificational Variability in Indirect Questions’, in E. Bach, A. Kratzer and B. H. Partee (eds.), Papers on Quantification, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  5. Bierwisch, Manfred: 1980, ‘Semantic Structure and Illocutionary Force’, in J. Searle, F. Kiefer and M. Bierwisch (eds.), Speech Act Theory and Pragmatics, pp. 1–35. Reidel, Dordrecht.

  6. Bolinger, Dwight: 1978, ‘Asking More than One Thing at a Time’, in H. Hiz (ed.), Questions, pp. 107–150. Reidel, Dordrecht.

  7. Chafe, William: 1976, ‘Givenness, Contrastiveness, Definiteness, Subjects, Topics and Point of View’, in C. N. Li (ed.), Subject and Topic, pp. 27–55. Academic Press, New York.

  8. Chierchia, Gennaro: 1993, ‘Questions with Quantifiers’, Natural Language Semantics 1, 181–234.

  9. Comorovski, Ileana: 1996, Interrogative Phrases and the Syntax–Semantics Interface, Kluwer, Dordrecht.

  10. Comrie, Bernard: 1981, Language Univerals and Linguistic Typology, Blackwell, London.

  11. Engdahl, Elisabet: 1985, Interpreting Questions, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  12. Groenendijk, Jeroen and Martin Stokhof: 1984, Studies on the Semantics of Questions and the Pragmatics of Answers, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Amsterdam.

  13. Groenendijk, Jeroen and Martin Stokhof: 1989, ‘Type–shifting Rules and the Semantics of Interrogatives’, in G. Chierchia, B. H. Partee and R. Turner (eds.), Properties, Types and Meanings. Vol. 2: Semantic Issues, pp. 21–69. Kluwer, Dordrecht.

  14. Hamblin, C.L.: 1973, ‘Questions in Montague Grammar’, Foundations of Language 10, 41–53.

  15. Heim, Irene: 1982, The Semantics of Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  16. Heim, Irene: 1992, ‘Presupposition Projection and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs’, Journal of Semantics 9, 183–221.

  17. Higginbotham, James and Robert May: 1981, ‘Questions, Quantifiers, and Crossing’, The Linguistic Review 1, 41–80.

  18. Jacobs, Joachim: 1984, ‘Funktionale Satzperspektive und Illokutionssemantik’, Linguistische Berichte 91, 25–58.

  19. Karttunen, Lauri: 1977, ‘Syntax and Semantics of Questions’, Linguistics and Philosophy 1, 3–44.

  20. Keenan, Edward and Leonard M. Faltz: 1985, Boolean Semantics for Natural Language, Reidel, Dordrecht.

  21. Kim, Young–joo and Richard Larson: 1989, ‘Scope Interpretation and the Syntax of Psych–Verbs’, Linguistic Inquiry 20(4), 681–688.

  22. Krifka, Manfred: 1992, ‘Definite NPs Aren't Quantifiers’, Linguistic Inquiry 23(1), 156–163.

  23. Krifka, Manfred: 1999, ‘Quantifying into Question Acts’, Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 9, CLC Publications, Cornell University, Ithaca.

  24. Krifka, Manfred: 2001, ‘For a Structured Account of Questions and Answers’, in C. Fery and W. Sternefeld (eds.), Audiatur vox sapientiae, Akademie–Verlag, Berlin.

  25. Kuno, Susumo: 1982, ‘The Focus of the Question and the Focus of the Answer’, Papers from the Parassession on Nondeclaratives, Chicago Linguistic Society, Chicago.

  26. Lahiri, Utpal: 2000, ‘Lexical Selection and Quantificational Variability in embedded Interrogatives’, Linguistics and Philosophy 23, 325–389.

  27. Lambrecht, Knud: 1994, Information Structure and Sentence Form: Topic, Focus, and the Mental Representation of Discourse Referents, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  28. Lee, Chungmin: 1975, ‘Embedded Performatives’, Language 51, 105–108.

  29. Levinson, Stephen C.: 1983, Pragmatics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  30. Lewis, David: 1970, ‘General Semantics’, Synthese 22, 18–67.

  31. Link, Godehard: 1983, ‘The Logical Analysis of Plurals and Mass Terms: A Lattice–Theoretical Approach’, in R. Bäuerle, C. Schwarze, and A. von Stechow (eds.), Meaning, Use and the Interpretation of Language, pp. 303–323. de Gruyter, Berlin.

  32. Liu, Feng–hsi: 1990, Scope Dependency in English and Chinese, Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.

  33. Merin, Arthur: 1992, ‘Permission Sentences Stand in the Way of Boolean and Other Lattice–Theoretic Semantics’, Journal of Semantics 9, 95–162.

  34. Merin, Arthur: 1994, ‘Algebra of Elementary Social Acts’, in S. L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Foundations of Speech Act Theory: Philosophical and Linguistic Perspectives, pp. 234–266. Routledge, London.

  35. Moltmann, Friederike and Anna Szabolcsi: 1994, ‘Scope Interactions with Pair–List Quantifiers’, Proceedings of NELS 24, GLSA, University of Massachusetts of Amherst.

  36. Pafel, Jürgen: 1999, ‘Interrogative Quantifiers within Scope’, Linguistics and Philosophy 22, 255–310.

  37. Partee, Barbara H. and Mats Rooth: 1983, ‘Generalized Conjunction and Type Ambiguity’, in R. Bäuerle, C. Schwarze and A. von Stechow (eds.), Meaning, Use and Interpretation of Language, pp. 361–383. de Gruyter, Berlin.

  38. Pritchett, Bradley L.: 1990, ‘A Note on Scope Interaction with Definite Plural NPs’, Linguistic Inquiry 21(4), 646–654.

  39. Ross, John R.: 1970, ‘On Declarative Sentences’, in R. A. Jacobs and P. S. Rosenbaum (eds.), Readings in English Transformational Grammar, pp. 222–272. Ginn, Waltham, Mass.

  40. Searle, John: 1969, Speech Acts. An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, Cambridge University Press.

  41. Srivastav Dayal, Veneeta: 1992, ‘Two Types of Universal Terms in Questions’, Proceedings of NELS 22, GLSA, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  42. Stalnaker, Robert: 1974, ‘Pragmatic Presuppositions’, in M. Munitz and P. Unger (eds.), Semantics and Philosophy, pp. 197–213 New York University Press, New York.

  43. Stenius, E.: 1967, ‘Mood and Language Game’, Synthese 17, 254–274.

  44. Szabolcsi, Anna: 1993, ‘Quantifiers in Pair–List Readings and the Non–uniformity of Quantification’, Ninth Amsterdam Colloquium, pp. 645–664. ILLC/University of Amsterdam.

  45. Szabolcsi, Anna: 1997a, ‘Quantifiers in Pair–List Readings’, in A. Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Scope Taking, pp. 311–347. Kluwer, Dordrecht.

  46. Szabolcsi, Anna: 1997b, ‘Strategies for Scope Taking’, in A. Szabolcsi (ed.), Ways of Scope Taking, pp. 109–154. Kluwer, Dordrecht.

  47. Szabolcsi, Anna and Frans Zwarts: 1993, ‘Weak Islands and an Algebraic Semantics for Scope Taking’, Natural Language Semantics 1, 235–284.

  48. von Stechow, Arnim: 1990, ‘Focusing and Backgrounding Operators’, in W. Abraham (ed.), Discourse Particles, pp. 37–84. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

  49. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: 1958, Philosophische Untersuchungen. Basil Blackwell, London.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Krifka, M. Quantifying into Question Acts. Natural Language Semantics 9, 1–40 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017903702063

Download citation

Keywords

  • Boolean Algebra
  • Previous Approach
  • Structure Result
  • Universal Quantifier
  • True Answer