Different Kinds of Specificity Across Languages

Volume 92 of the series Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy pp 105-122


Certain Presuppositions and Some Intermediate Readings, and Vice Versa

  • Igor YanovichAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The paper discusses intermediate out-of-island readings of some and a certain indefinites within the choice-functional (CF) framework. Chierchia (2001) showed that certain readings of sentences with indefinites in the CF framework require existential closure of CF variables in the immediate scope of negation rather than Kratzer-style Skolemization of the CF. However, Schwarz (2001) noticed that while some indefinites exhibit readings of that kind, a certain indefinites do not seem to. The current paper first shows how to account for Schwarz’s generalization using simple presuppositional CF analyses for the relevant indefinite determiners. Then it looks more closely at the data concerning a certain and concludes that Schwarz’s generalization is actually not as clear-cut. A more sophisticated analysis for a certain, motivated by its properties not directly connected to exceptional scope-taking, is proposed. A suggestion is made regarding how to explain both the ability of a certain indefinites to give rise to readings Schwarz claimed they cannot give rise to, and at the same time avoid overgeneration of such readings.