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Scope and Specificity

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Abstract

<i>Scope and Specificity</i> is an investigation of quantifier scope interaction in natural language, with special reference to English and Chinese. In particular, it is concerned with semantic properties of NPs. Quantifier scope plays an important role in current theories of syntax and semantics. However, most studies of quantifier scope are only concerned with the behavior of a small number of quantifiers, e.g. &#8216;every&#8217;, &#8216;some&#8217;, &#8216;all&#8217;. As a result, the generalizations made on the basis of these quantifiers often do not hold when a wider range of quantifiers is considered. In this study a wide variety of NP types are examined with respect to how they interact with other NPs. The key concept explored is that of semantic scope dependency/independence. NPs are considered according to two properties: whether they can induce scope-dependency and whether they can be scope-dependent. By observing how in basic sentences NPs behave with respect to the two properties, the author presents a picture of quantifier scope much different from what has been assumed in the literature.

Subjects: Generative linguistics; Semantics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Arizona

References

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