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Logic in GrammarPolarity, Free Choice, and Intervention$
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Gennaro Chierchia

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697977.001.0001

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Existential Free Choice

Existential Free Choice

Chapter:
(p.245) 5 Existential Free Choice
Source:
Logic in Grammar
Author(s):

Gennaro Chierchia

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697977.003.0006

Chapter 5 studies indefinites that are restricted to Free Choice environments, sometimes also described as ‘epistemic indefinites’. This includes German irgendein, Italian uno qualunque and Romanian vreun. It is argued that the FC effects that these items give rise to are identical to those that come about with ordinary disjunction and ordinary indefinites in similar contexts. The switch between pure NPIs that disallow FC uses and Polarity Items that allow them is located in the (non) availability of ‘pre exhaustified’ (i.e. recursively exhaustified) domain alternatives: NPIs disallow them (and are thereby restricted to DE contexts), FC indefinites allow them (and thereby are admitted in modal contexts where the FC effect comes about). This arguably constitutes a genuinely uniform theory of Negative Polarity and Free Choice Items. Several further dimensions of variation in epistemic indefinites are identified and a small number of formal parameters that generates such variation are identified. For example, domain size is responsible for total vs. partial variation, obligatory strengthening for ‘antilicensing’ in strongly negative environments. A novel generalization pertaining to the relation between Epistemic Indefinites and numerals is identified and discussed.

Keywords:   existential free choice items, epistemic indefinites, total and partial variation, obligatory strengthening, numerals and free choice, covert modals, obligatory implicatures

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