Why Indefinites?

  • Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin
  • Claire Beyssade
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 85)


The chapter contains a brief overview of the main arguments in favor of the hypothesis that indefinite DPs are neither referential nor quantificational expressions, but rather a third type of DP. We then present the various analyses that can be found in the formal semantics literature over the past 30 years, which treat indefinite DPs as free variables, choice functions, Skolem terms or properties. We then attempt to define the main semantic properties of indefinite DPs and finally we present the interpretation problems raised by this class of DPs.


Choice Function Generalize Quantifier Existential Quantifier Discourse Referent Existential Closure 
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

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin
    • 1
  • Claire Beyssade
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Linguistique FormelleUniversity of Paris 7 UMR 7110-CNRSParisFrance
  2. 2.Jean Nicod InstituteUMR 8129 CNRS, ENS, EHESSParisFrance

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