Zahra Mirrazi (UCLA) & Christopher Potts (Stanford University)

Ling H: Puzzles in Semantics II (intermediate/advanced)

Christopher Potts (Stanford University) Zahra Mirrazi ()
Puzzle C (Zahra Mirrazi, UCLA)
This "puzzle" focuses on wide pseudo-scope de dicto readings of indefinites in Farsi. We will see that indefinites in the surface syntactic scope of negated intensional operators can yield a reading in which the indefinite appears to take wider scope over the negation, and narrow scope with respect to the intensional operator. Genuine generalized quantifiers, in contrast, cannot yield such readings. The existence of such wide pseudo-scope de dicto readings not only poses a problem for the generalized quantifier view of indefinites, but also for any approach that takes indefinites to scope via syntactic movement. We will see that an in-situ scope mechanism is needed to account for the data.
Puzzle D (Christopher Potts, Stanford University)
"The inferential properties of quantificational determiners"
Quantificational determiners like "every" and "no" are small words that nonetheless have great power to shape the inferential properties of the sentences they appear in. In the first part of this two-part puzzle series, we'll build up an informal but precise theory of determiners that derives these inferential properties from their core lexical meanings. In the second part, we'll confront some apparent problems with this semantic theory. I'll try to defend the idea that natural pragmatic pressures can solve these problems with no changes to the semantics required. I'll push this line of argumentation as far as I can and see where it takes us. This puzzle series is intended to introduce some of the most fundamental concepts in semantics and pragmatics in an intuitive and interactive way. It should be accessible to anyone with an interest in linguistic meaning, but roughly the second half of the second part will be advanced.