Root transformations & quantificational structure

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Hooper and Thompson (1973) observe that root transformations (RTs) occur in asserted adverbial adjuncts (<i>because</i>-clauses) but not in presupposed ones (<i>when</i>/<i>before</i>/<i>after-</i>clauses). Developing the idea that adverbial clauses can be analyzed semantically as parts of quantificational structures, we argue that RTs are available in adverbs that correspond to the scope of quantification, but not in those corresponding to the restriction. We spell out this view using the semantic theory of <i>when</i>/<i>before</i>/<i>after-</i>clauses developed in Johnston (1994) and the analysis of <i>because</i>-clauses in Larson (2004). After briefly reviewing alternative syntactic approaches, and noting difficulties for them, we suggest a &#8220;semantic closure&#8221; account in which RTs trigger existential closure in an adverbial, binding all available variables in a restriction, and all but the main variable in the scope. As a consequence, RTs induce a vacuous quantification violation in the first case, but not in the second.


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