Abstract/Details

The grammar of choice


2005 2005

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates the semantics of universal Free Choice (FC) items i.e., items like FC any or Spanish cualquiera.

This study is relevant for the theory of quantification. One of the core questions of this research is: what is the range of quantificational constructions used in natural language? Investigating the behavior of FC items will be instrumental in answering this question. While FC items seem to express quantification, they do not behave like 'textbook' quantifiers: They have a restricted distribution, and they seem to have a special relationship with modality.

In Chapter 2, I explore a compositional account in the spirit of Dayal (1998), according to which FC items are modal universal quantifiers, and conclude that this account can only derive the distribution of FC items by making assumptions that are not empirically justified.

My analysis of universal FC items is developed in Chapter 3, which constitutes the core of the dissertation. The crucial observation presented in this chapter is that analyzing universal FC items as wide-scope universals does not capture their FC component. In Chapter 3, I present an analysis that captures the FC effect and derives the ungrammaticality of FC items in episodic sentences like *John took any of these cards and necessity sentences like *John must take any of these cards. The key component of the proposal is the idea that all these sentences involve an exclusiveness requirement.

Chapter 4 deals with the licensing of FC items in generic sentences like this printer prints any document. I argue that these examples contain a covert possibility modal and thus that they fall under the general explanation given in Chapter 3 for possibility sentences. The discussion in this chapter sheds light on the semantics of generic sentences.

Chapter 5 discusses two further environments in which the interaction with genericity will turn out to be relevant: (i) necessity sentences like Any student must work hard and (ii) sentences like John talked to any woman that came up to him. The discussion in this chapter will lead to a better understanding of the interaction of FC items with genericity.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Linguistics
Classification
0290: Linguistics
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics, Free choice, Grammar, Quantification, Semantics
Title
The grammar of choice
Author
Menendez-Benito, Paula
Number of pages
232
Publication year
2005
Degree date
2005
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 66/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542383441, 0542383446
Advisor
Kratzer, Angelika
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3193926
ProQuest document ID
304993464
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304993464
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