The introduction sets the stage for the inquiry pursued in the book. The items to be studied include: Universal Free Choice items: English any, Italian qualunque (free choice items with a universal quantificational force); Existential Free Choice items: German irgendein, Italian uno qualunque (free choice items with an existential quantificational force); Epistemic Indefinites: Italian un qualche, Romanian vreun (indefinites associated with an ignorance inference); Weak Negative Polarity Items: English ever, Italian mai (items restricted to (roughly) Downward Entailing contexts); N-words: Italian nessuno, neanche (items that participate in negative concord); Strong Negative Polarity Items: English in weeks, punctual until; (items limited to strongly negative context, such as antiadditive items); Emphatic NPIs and ‘minimizers’: English give a damn, lift a finger, Hindi khoii bhii) The main thesis to be developed is that the core meaning of all of the items in (a)-(e) is the same as that of ordinary indefinites like some/a; the items in (f)-(g) share with indefinites the property of identifying lowest values on some scale.
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