The Scope of Indefinites

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

Abstract

In contexts where indefinite DPs co-occur with quantificational DPs, intensional predicates, negation or quantificational adverbs, they generate interpretive effects that have been traditionally analyzed in terms of scope. In this chapter, we show that so-called scope effects in fact depend on the denotation of indefinite DPs: weak indefinites take obligatory narrow scope, intermediate and wide scope being allowed only for individual-denoting indefinites. We propose to analyze scope interpretive effects in terms of dependency relations and we show that only referential indefinites (i.e. e-type indefinites) can be dependent. We represent dependent indefinites as Skolem terms, the reference of which co-varies with the quantificational DPs on which they depend. As for e-type indefinite DPs which are not dependent, they are specific and function as constants.

Keywords

Choice Function Narrow Scope Existential Quantifier Scope Reading 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.

References

  1. Abusch, D. 1994. The scope of indefinites. Natural Language Semantics 2: 83–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beghelli, F. 1995. The phrase-structure of quantifier scope. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  3. Beghelli, F., and T. Stowell. 1997. Distributivity and negation: The syntax of each and every. In Ways of scope taking, ed. A. Szabolcsi, 71–107. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ben-Shalom, D. 1993. Object wide scope and semantic trees. Los Angeles: MS, UCLA.Google Scholar
  5. Corblin, F. 1987. Indéfini, défini et démonstratif. Constructions linguistiques de la référence. Genève: Droz.Google Scholar
  6. Corblin, F. 1997. Les indéfinis: Variables et quantificateurs. Langue Française 116: 8–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dekker, P. 2002. A pragmatic view upon indefinites. Ms.Google Scholar
  8. Diesing, M. 1992. Indefinites. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dobrovie-Sorin, C. 1995. On the denotation and scope of indefinites, vol. 5, 67–114. Venice Working Papers in Linguistics, University of Venice.Google Scholar
  10. Engdahl, E. 1986. Constituent questions. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar
  11. Farkas, D. 1981. Quantifier scope and syntactic islands. In Proceedings of the Chicago linguistic society, vol. 7, 59–66. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  12. Farkas, D. 1985. Intensional descriptions and the Romance subjunctive. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  13. Farkas, D. 1997a. Dependent Indefinites. In Empirical issues in formal syntax and semantics, ed. F. Corblin, D. Godard, and J.-M. Marandin, 243–268. Berne: Peter Lang Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Farkas, D. 1997b. Evaluation indices and scope. In Ways of scope taking, ed. A. Szabolcsi, 183–215. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Farkas, D. 2001. Dependent indefinites and direct scope. In Logical perspectives on language and information, ed. C. Condoravdi and G. Renardel, 41–72. Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  16. Farkas, D., and A. Giannakidou. 1996. How clause-bounded is the scope of universals? In Proceedings of SALT VI, ed. T. Galloway and J. Spence et al., 35–52. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  17. Fodor, J.D., and I.A. Sag. 1982. Referential and quantificational indefinites. Linguistics and Philosophy 5: 355–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Groenendijk, J., and M. Stokhof. 1984. Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  19. Heim, I. 1982. The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Published in 1988, Garland, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Hintikka, J. 1974. Quantifiers vs quantification theory. Linguistic Inquiry 5: 153–177.Google Scholar
  21. Hintikka, J. 1986. The semantics of a certain. Linguistic Inquiry 17(2): 331–336.Google Scholar
  22. Kamp, H. 1981. A theory of truth and discourse representation. In Formal methods in the study of language, ed. J. Groenendijk, T. Janssen, and M. Stokhof, 277–322. Amsterdam: Mathematisch Centrum.Google Scholar
  23. Kamp, H., and U. Reyle. 1993. From discourse to logic. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kratzer, A. 1995. Stage-level and individual-level predicates. In The generic book, ed. G.N. Carlson and F.J. Pelletier, 125–175. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kratzer, A. 1998. Scope or pseudoscope? Are there widescope indefinites? In Events and grammar, ed. S. Rothstein, 163–196. Dordrecht/Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kratzer, A. 2007. On the plurality of verbs. In Event structures in linguistic form and interpretation, ed. J. Dölling, T. Heyde-Zybatow, and M. Schäfer, 269–300. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  27. Krifka, M. 1992a. Definite NPs aren’t quantifiers. Linguistic Inquiry 23(1): 156–164.Google Scholar
  28. Krifka, M. 1992b. Thematic relations as links between nominal reference and temporal constitution. In Lexical matters, ed. I. Sag and A. Szabolsci, 29–53. Stanford: CSLI.Google Scholar
  29. Landman, F. 1989a. Groups I. Linguistics and Philosophy 12(5): 559–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Landman, F. 1989b. Groups II. Linguistics and Philosophy 12(6): 723–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Link, G. 1983. The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms: A lattice theoretic approach. In Meaning, use and interpretation of language, ed. R. Bauerle, C. Schwartze, and A. von Stechow, 302–323. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. May, R. 1977. The grammar of quantification. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  33. May, R. 1985. Logical form: Its structure and derivation. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. Reinhart, T. 1995. Interface strategies. OTS Working Papers, Utrecht.Google Scholar
  35. Ruys, E. 1992. The scope of indefinites. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Utrecht.Google Scholar
  36. Scha, R. 1981. Distributive, collective, and cumulative quantification. In Formal methods in the study of language, ed. J. Groenendijk, T. Janssen, and M. Stokhof, 483–512. Amsterdam: Mathematisch Centrum.Google Scholar
  37. Steedman, M. 2003. Scope alternation and the syntax/semantics interface. Paris: CSSP.Google Scholar
  38. Winter, Y. 1997. Choice functions and the scopal semantics of indefinites. Linguistics and Philosophy 20: 399–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations