LINGUIST List 13.3008

Tue Nov 19 2002

Diss: Syntax: Mathieu "Syntax of Non-Canonical..."

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  1. eric, Syntax: Mathieu "Syntax of Non-Canonical Quantification..."

Message 1: Syntax: Mathieu "Syntax of Non-Canonical Quantification..."

Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 11:28:35 +0000
From: eric <>
Subject: Syntax: Mathieu "Syntax of Non-Canonical Quantification..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University College London
Program: PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Eric Mathieu 

Dissertation Title: 
The Syntax of Non-Canonical Quantification: A Comparative Study

Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English

Dissertation Director 1: Dr Hans van de Koot
Dissertation Director 2: Dr Ad Neeleman

Dissertation Abstract: 

The expected schema for quantificational structures at LF in natural
languages is one whereby the semantic restriction is adjacent to the
operator with which it is associated: Operator - Restriction -
Matrix. However, many constructions in natural languages do not follow
this canonical quantification format. The present thesis investigates
several cases of non-canonical quantification whereby the semantic
restriction is not adjacent to its operator: Operator - Matrix -
Restriction. On a descriptive level, it is shown that non-canonical
quantification is tolerated as long as no scopal element intervenes
between the operator and the in situ semantic restriction. Otherwise
scope island effects are exhibited.

The main thesis of this study is that the scope-freezing property of
predicative indefinites, which is amply justified on independent
grounds, provides the basis for an explanation of the intervention
effects shown in split constructions. The relevant facts are made to
follow from the Scopal ECP (cf. Williams 1994) and are thus
accommodated in a principled way. I assume that stranded indefinites
do not introduce an existential quantifier, but only a so-called
Skolem function f (x), f being a functional variable and x an
argumental variable. When such a function is introduced, an indefinite
has 'zero' scope; it behaves like the trace of an adjunct in that its
scope is fixed locally.

The various domains of enquiry are French WH in situ, partial WH
movement, French negative constructions involving so-called N-words,
and constructions with attributive focus particles. All these
constructions are argued to be cases of non-canonical
quantification. In each case an operator is separated from its noun
restrictor and scope island effects arise.
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