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What’s in a quantifier?

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Abstract

In this article, I discuss several inquiries into the meaning of expressions of quantity. It is to some extent received wisdom that quantifiers are not expressions that stand proxy for amounts, quantities, frequencies, etc. In cognitive psychology, a common observation is that quantifiers express perspectives on quantity. I will argue that while this result bears some relation to notions known from formal semantics, the dominant theoretical framework, generalised quantifier theory, nevertheless falls short of providing a unifying approach to logical, linguistic and psychological aspects of quantity expressions. The upshot is that the many diverse ways in which quantity information may be worded should be reflected in a variety of analyses. In other words, quantifiers need to be approached on a case by case basis.

References

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