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Strategies of Quantification$
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Kook-Hee Gil, Stephen Harlow, and George Tsoulas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692439.001.0001

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Strategies of Quantification in St'át'imcets and the Rest of the World

Strategies of Quantification in St'át'imcets and the Rest of the World

(p.15) 2 Strategies of Quantification in St'át'imcets and the Rest of the World
Strategies of Quantification

Lisa Matthewson

Oxford University Press

Generalized Quantifier theory enables a compositional derivation of the meanings of quantified noun phrases. A semantic ‘determiner’ (instantiated in English, for example, by every or most) denotes a relation between sets (equivalently, a function of type 〈 〈e,t〉,〈 〈e,t〉,t〉 〉). It combines with a common noun phrase to create a Generalized Quantifier (such as most girls), which denotes a set of sets (a function of type 〈 〈e,t〉,t〉). This chapter addresses the topic which Barwise and Cooper themselves did not discuss, namely the internal compositionality of the semantic determiner. The chapter argues here that even setting aside complex quantifications like ‘more than half’, the function of the semantic determiner, namely to create a GQ from a common noun, is not a unitary or primitive process. Rather, GQ‐creation standardly involves at least two separate functions: quantification and domain restriction. This leads to a cross‐linguistic prediction, namely that we will find languages in which domain restriction is overtly expressed within the noun phrase via a separate lexical item. Furthermore, there are languages where the elements which effect domain restriction and quantification do not even form a syntactic constituent. The chapter thus argues that the notion of the ‘semantic determiner’ in Barwise and Cooper's sense may need to be retired, as it has outlived its cross‐linguistic usefulness. The chapter argues that we need to investigate the GQ‐internal syntax–semantics mapping in a large number of different languages, in order to determine what the range of possibilities is in this domain and where the interesting generalizations lie.

Keywords:   determiner, semantic determiner, choice function, generalized quantifier, St'at'imcets, partitive, definiteness, domain restriction, demonstrative, universal quantifier

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