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Free Choice and the Theory of Scalar Implicatures

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition book series (PSPLC)

Abstract

This chapter will be concerned with the conjunctive interpretation of a family of disjunctive constructions. The relevant conjunctive interpretation, sometimes referred to as a ‘free choice effect,’ (FC) is attested when a disjunctive sentence is embedded under an existential modal operator. I will provide evidence that the relevant generalization extends (with some caveats) to all constructions in which a disjunctive sentence appears under the scope of an existential quantifier, as well as to seemingly unrelated constructions in which conjunction appears under the scope of negation and a universal quantifier.

Keywords

  • Free Choice
  • Lexical Entry
  • Scalar Implicature
  • Compositional Semantic
  • Basic Meaning

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.

This work is very much inspired by earlier proposals of Kratzer and Shimoyama, Alonso-Ovalle, Gennaro Chierchia, an in particular by Kai von Fintel’s class presentation of’ Kratzer and Shimoyama. Special thanks go to Gennaro Chierchia, Kai von Fintel, and Irene Heim. I’ve also benefited from discussions with Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Jon Gajewski, Nathan Klindinst, Ezra Keshet, Angelika Kratrer, Fred Landsman, Philippe Schlenker, Benjamin Spector, and from comments and questions at the 2005 LSA summer institute (MIT and Harvard), and at colloquia at Umass Amherst, SUNY Stony Brook, Tel-Aviv University, and Tuebingen University.

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© 2007 Danny Fox

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Fox, D. (2007). Free Choice and the Theory of Scalar Implicatures. In: Sauerland, U., Stateva, P. (eds) Presupposition and Implicature in Compositional Semantics. Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230210752_4

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