Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2008
  • ISSN 1568-1483
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9900
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I argue that the interpretation of expressions consisting of disjunction marker and wh-element (wh-disj expressions), which varies across languages, constitutes a case of semantic variation. In Hausa, these expressions denote universal generalized quantifiers, which give rise to free choice effects in intensional contexts (Giannakidou 2001). The universal meaning is derived in compositional fashion, where the disjunction marker expresses set union over the wh-domain. The free choice effects follow from the scopal interaction of universal quantifier and intensional operator. The account relates to Giannakidou & Cheng’s (2006) analysis of (quasi)universal FCIs, but it does not extend to Japanese and Malayalam wh-disj expressions, which are interpreted with existential force and should be analyzed as indeterminate pronouns (Jayaseelan 2001; Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002). Motivated by the analysis of FCIs in Menendéz-Benito (2005), we finally consider an alternative analysis of koo-wh expressions as selective indeterminate pronouns, which is rejected on conceptual and empirical grounds.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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