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Dependent indefinites: the view from sign language

Abstract : In many languages, an indefinite determiner or numeral may be inflected to indicate that the value of the indefinite DP depends on another DP in the sentence or in context. Most semantic analyses of dependent indefinites formalize a similar insight: dependent indefinites contribute a variation condition: the value of the variable introduced by the indefinite must vary with respect to the value of another variable in the sentence or in context. The specific implementation of this insight varies in significant ways, notably on the following two fundamental architectural questions: 1. Are dependent indefinites anaphoric to their licensor? 2. Are dependent indefinites themselves quantificational? In this paper, I argue the following: 1) dependent indefinites have an anaphoric component; 2) they are themselves quantificational. I argue that new data involving spatial agreement in American Sign Language gives insight into these questions, but that the answers have theoretical and empirical ramifications beyond sign language. An analysis is presented within the framework of Plural Compositional DRT (Brasoveanu 2006, i.a.).
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_03053155
Contributor : Jeremy Kuhn <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 9:41:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 9:16:06 PM

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Jeremy Kuhn. Dependent indefinites: the view from sign language. Journal of Semantics, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017, 34 (3), pp.407-446. ⟨10.1093/jos/ffx007⟩. ⟨ijn_03053155⟩

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