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Epistemic IndefinitesExploring Modality Beyond the Verbal Domain$
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Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Paula Menéndez-Benito

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199665297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665297.001.0001

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Certain properties of certain indefinites: An experimental perspective

Certain properties of certain indefinites: An experimental perspective

Chapter:
(p.183) 9 Certain properties of certain indefinites: An experimental perspective
Source:
Epistemic Indefinites
Author(s):

Tania Ionin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665297.003.0009

This chapter revisits the status of long-distance intermediate-scope readings of indefinites (Kratzer 1998; Schwarz 2001; Endriss 2009; among others). An experimental study with native English speakers investigates two questions: whether intermediate-scope readings are distinct from functional readings; and whether there is any difference in the availability of functional readings to ‘a’ indefinites vs. to ‘a certain’ indefinites. The findings indicate that intermediate-scope readings are equally available in contexts that set up a functional relationship and in contexts that do not set up such a relationship. At the same time, intermediate-scope readings are found to be more readily available to ‘a certain’ indefinites than to ‘a’ indefinites. Implications of these findings for claims about the status of functional and intermediate-scope readings (Schwarz 2001; Endriss 2009) are discussed; the findings point to the methodological difficulty of setting up contexts that tease apart functional and non-functional readings of indefinites.

Keywords:   intermediate scope, long-distance scope, functional readings, a certain indefinites

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