• Weak ALL

    Author(s):
    Hanna de Vries (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Subject(s):
    Semantics, Linguistics
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    maximality, number, kinds, degree, plurality, Linguistic semantics
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/qj02-a471
    Abstract:
    [This is an unpublished manuscript still undergoing revisions; before citing/disseminating, please check for more recent versions. Comments welcome!] The tiny word 'all' and its cognates in other languages perform an impressive range of grammatical duties, which despite their various differences all share the same core meaning, usually described in terms of 'maximality', 'completion' or 'totality'. This paper shows that ALL, in fact, systematically alternates between this familiar maximality-inducing use and a non-maximal 'weak' use under which its contribution is more akin to 'many' or 'very'. It is proposed that the core meaning of ALL is not maximality per se but rather 'plurality enforcement': applying ALL to a plural entity ensures that it remains plural in the subsequent derivation. Maximal and non-maximal interpretations then arise from the interaction between plurality enforcement and independent semantic phenomena, in particular economy-based atomisation strategies, the formal properties of plural predication, existential quantification contributed by episodic predication over kinds, and the nature of comparison classes. Through its investigation of its central mystery, the paper provides empirical and theoretical support for the notion of 'impure atomicity' (that is, the singular interpretation of seemingly plural referents), as well as the relevance of semantic number in the kind and degree domains.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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