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Comparative superlatives

In N. Fukui, T. Rapoport & E. Sagey (eds.), Anna Szabolcsi 1986 MIT WPL 8. MIT Press (1986)

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  1. Sorting Out Relative Clauses.Sarah Hulsey & Uli Sauerland - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (2):111-137.
    This paper investigates the structure of English restrictive relative clauses. It provides support for the view that restrictive relative clauses are structurally ambiguous between two structures: the head-internal, raising structure and the matching structure, which has both an internal and an external head. We present a new test from extraposition facts that distinguishes between the raising and matching structures for relative clauses. Furthermore, this paper presents an account of the semantics of raising relative clauses which is intended to complete the (...)
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  • Connectivity in Specificational Sentences.Yael Sharvit - 1999 - Natural Language Semantics 7 (3):299-339.
    This paper is concerned with the relationship between the semantics of specificational and predicational sentences and the Connectivity effects they display. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of semantic and syntactic approaches to Connectivity (the ‘unconstrained-be theory’, the ‘question-in-disguise theory’, and the ‘unclefting theory’), concluding that a semantic theory of Connectivity is not only preferable, but necessary. The paper also discusses the implications of such a move regarding Binding phenomena (i.e., Principle A, B, and C effects): adopting a semantic theory (...)
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  • Quantifier Particles and Compositionality.Anna Szabolcsi - 2013 - Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.
    In many languages, the same particles build quantifier words and serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do the roles of each particle form a natural class with a stable semantics? Are the particles aided by additional elements, overt or covert, in fulfilling their varied roles? I propose a unified analysis, according to which the particles impose partial ordering requirements (glb and lub) on the interpretations of their hosts and the immediate larger contexts, (...)
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  • Syntax and Semantics: An Overview.Arnim von Stechow - 2012 - In Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton.
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  • Proceedings From SALT X.Brendan Jackson & Tanya Matthews (eds.) - 2000 - CLC Publications.
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  • Experimental Investigations of Ambiguity: The Case of Most.Hadas Kotek, Yasutada Sudo & Martin Hackl - 2015 - Natural Language Semantics 23 (2):119-156.
    In the study of natural language quantification, much recent attention has been devoted to the investigation of verification procedures associated with the proportional quantifier most. The aim of these studies is to go beyond the traditional characterization of the semantics of most, which is confined to explicating its truth-functional and presuppositional content as well as its combinatorial properties, as these aspects underdetermine the correct analysis of most. The present paper contributes to this effort by presenting new experimental evidence in support (...)
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  • The many readings of many: POS in the reverse proportional reading.Maribel Romero - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (2):281-321.
    Besides their ordinary cardinal and proportional meanings, many and few have been argued to allow for a ‘reverse proportional’ reading. This reading has later been characterised in two opposite directions: Cohen’s reading where the proportion \ matters and Herburger’s where it does not. We develop a compositional analysis that derives the correct truth conditions for both characterisations of Westerståhl-style sentences while maintaining conservativity, assuming a standard syntax/semantics mapping and reducing their context-dependence to mechanisms independently needed for degree constructions in general. (...)
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  • On the presuppositional strength of interrogative clauses.Maayan Abenina-Adar & Yael Sharvit - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):47-90.
    A central question in the study of presuppositions is how a presupposition trigger contributes to the meaning of a complex expression containing it. Two competing answers are found in the literature on quantificational expressions. According to the first, a quantificational expression presupposes that every member of its domain satisfies the presuppositions triggered in its scope, and according to the second, a quantificational expression presupposes that at least one member of its domain satisfies the presuppositions triggered in its scope. The former (...)
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  • The Conservativity of Many : Split Scope and Most.Maribel Romero - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):393-404.
    Besides their cardinal and proportional readings, many and few have been argued to allow for a ‘reverse’ proportional reading that defies the conservativity universal. Recently, an analysis has been developed that derives the correct truth conditions for this reading while preserving conservativity. The present paper investigates two predictions of this analysis, based on two key ingredients. First, many is decomposed into a determiner stem many and the degree operator POS. This predicts that other elements may scopally intervene between the two (...)
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  • Generalized Update Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):795-835.
    This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This new semantics derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a standard dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. The semantics allows for new characterizations of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of ‘p and might not p’. Finally, the semantics provides a construction procedure for transforming any truth conditional semantics (...)
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  • Split-Scope Definites: Relative Superlatives and Haddock Descriptions.Dylan Bumford - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (6):549-593.
    This paper argues for a particular semantic decomposition of morphological definiteness. I propose that the meaning of ‘the’ comprises two distinct compositional operations. The first builds a set of witnesses that satisfy the restricting noun phrase. The second tests this set for uniqueness. The motivation for decomposing the denotation of the definite determiner in this way comes from split-scope intervention effects. The two components—the selection of witnesses on the one hand and the counting of witnesses on the other—may take effect (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
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  • Modal Superlatives And 3-Place Vs. 2-Place -Est.Maribel Romero - 2011 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6:10.
    Superlative sentences with modal modifiers like possible give rise to the so-called 'modal superlative reading' . The present paper uses this reading to investigate an open issue in degree constructions: whereas two different lexical entries have been argued to exist for the comparative morpheme -er , it is not clear whether two entries are needed for the superlative morpheme -est. The paper argues that, with 3-place –est, otherwise unmotivated syntactic material would to have to be postulated and that, even with (...)
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  • Constraints on the Lexicalization of Logical Operators.Roni Katzir & Raj Singh - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (1):1-29.
    We revisit a typological puzzle due to Horn (Doctoral Dissertation, UCLA, 1972) regarding the lexicalization of logical operators: in instantiations of the traditional square of opposition across categories and languages, the O corner, corresponding to ‘nand’ (= not and), ‘nevery’ (= not every), etc., is never lexicalized. We discuss Horn’s proposal, which involves the interaction of two economy conditions, one that relies on scalar implicatures and one that relies on markedness. We observe that in order to express markedness and to (...)
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  • DegP Scope Revisited.Sigrid Beck - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (3):227-272.
    The semantic literature takes degree operators like the comparative, but also measure phrases, the equative, the superlative and so on, to be quantifiers over degrees. This is well motivated by their semantic contribution, but leads one to expect far more scope interaction than is actually observed. This paper proposes an alternative-semantic analysis of certain degree constructions, in particular constructions with little and other negative antonyms. Restrictions on scope can then be explained as intervention effects.
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  • Modal Superlatives: A Compositional Analysis. [REVIEW]Maribel Romero - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):79-110.
    Superlative adjectives accompanied by certain modal adjectives like possible (e.g. John bought the largest possible present) are ambiguous between a reading where possible is a regular noun modifier and a reading paraphrasable as ‘as Adj as possible’, called ‘modal superlative reading’. Three interesting restrictions have been observed in the literature. First, possible and some other adjectives ending in -able, but not potential and probable, support the latter reading. Second, when the modal adjective appears postnominally, only the modal superlative reading is (...)
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  • Comparisons of Equality With German so…Wie, and the Relationship Between Degrees and Properties.Vera Hohaus & Malte Zimmermann - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (1):95-143.
    We present a compositionally transparent, unified semantic analysis of two kinds of so…wie-equative constructions in German, namely degree equatives and property equatives in the domain of individuals or events. Unlike in English and many other European languages, both equative types in German feature the parameter marker so, suggesting a unified analysis. We show that the parallel formal expression of German degree and property equatives is accompanied by a parallel syntactic distribution, and by identical semantic properties: Both equative types allow for (...)
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  • On the Grammar and Processing of Proportional Quantifiers: Most Versus More Than Half.Martin Hackl - 2009 - Natural Language Semantics 17 (1):63-98.
    Abstract Proportional quantifiers have played a central role in the development of formal semantics because they set a benchmark for the expressive power needed to describe quantification in natural language (Barwise and Cooper Linguist Philos 4:159–219, 1981). The proportional quantifier most, in particular, supplied the initial motivation for adopting Generalized Quantifier Theory (GQT) because its meaning is definable as a relation between sets of individuals, which are taken to be semantic primitives in GQT. This paper proposes an alternative analysis of (...)
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  • Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • Superlative Expressions, Context, and Focus.Yael Sharvit & Penka Stateva - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):453-504.
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  • Quantifier Words and Their Multifunctional(?) Parts.Anna Szabolcsi, James Doh Whang & Vera Zu - 2014 - Language and Linguistics 15 (1).
    Formal semantic analyses often take words to be minimal building blocks for the purposes of compositionality. But various recent theories of morphology and syntax have converged on the view that there is no demarcation line corresponding to the word level. The same conclusion has emerged from the compositional semantics of superlatives. In the spirit of extending compositionality below the word level, this paper explores how a small set of particles (Japanese KA and MO, Chinese DOU, and Hungarian VALA/VAGY, MIND, and (...)
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  • Measure Phrase Equatives and Modified Numerals.Jessica Rett - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (3):425-475.
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  • Compositionality Without Word Boundaries: (The) More and (the) Most.Anna Szabolcsi - 2012 - Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 22.
    This paper seeks to illustrate the advantages of not treating phonological words as distinguished building blocks in compositional semantics. Following Bobaljik 2012, we derive the relative readings of amount superlatives in two steps, [[[d-many] comparative] superlative]. The existence of two comparative constructions is revealed, involving more vs. the more. Each builds a different superlative construction, explaining the conflicting intuitions about superlatives in the literature, as well as puzzles relating to the definite article in superlatives.
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  • Underspecification in Degree Operators.Guillaume Thomas - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (1):43-93.
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