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Hebrew negative polarity Items – <i>šum</i> and <i>af</i>

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Abstract

In this paper I am going to examine two negative polarity determiners in Hebrew <i>um and af</i> which are analogous to English <i>any</i>. I show that though, like <i>any</i>, they are licensed in negative environments but not in affirmative ones, they have distributional properties which distinguish them from <i>any</i>. I then explore the semantics of <i>um</i> and <i>af</i> and show that they are not synonymous; they are sensitive to semantic distinctions between different denotations of nouns individuals, sums, quantities and kinds. I argue that <i>um</i> and af are wideners licensed by strengthening as Kadmon &amp; Landman (1993) argue <i>any</i> is. However, the widening involved is not contextual but one which is sensitive to the available denotations for nouns.

References

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