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Information StructureTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives$
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Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.001.0001

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The interpretation of topical indefinites as direct and indirect aboutness topics

The interpretation of topical indefinites as direct and indirect aboutness topics

Chapter:
(p.89) 5 The interpretation of topical indefinites as direct and indirect aboutness topics
Source:
Information Structure
Author(s):

Cornelia Ebert

Stefan Hinterwimmer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.003.0005

The Interpretation of Topical Indefinites as Direct and Indirect Aboutness Topics’ by Cornelia Ebert and Stefan Hinterwimmer deals with the interpretation of sentences that contain indefinite DPs marked as topics. It has often been observed that topical indefinites can be interpreted in either of the following ways: (i.) they receive widest scope (in episodic sentences); (ii.) they are interpreted generically (in sentences with generic tense); (iii.) they induce so‐called Quantificational Variability Effects (in the presence of adverbial quantifiers). These three observations have not been systematically related to each other so far. The contribution of the paper consists in showing that the three readings that are in principle available to topical indefinites can be based on a single underlying principle, which is responsible for the interpretive effect of topicality in the context of adverbial quantifiers and generic operators as well as in combination with determiner quantifiers.

Keywords:   Semantics, Information Structure, Topicality, Quantificational Variability, Quantifiers, Left Dislocation

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