LINGUIST List 8.539

Fri Apr 18 1997

Sum: Scope Ambiguities

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <seelylinguistlist.org>


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  1. Eung-Cheon Hah, Scope Ambiguities

Message 1: Scope Ambiguities

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 14:51:56 +0900
From: Eung-Cheon Hah <echeoninterpia.net>
Subject: Scope Ambiguities

Dear linguists,

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a questionnaire on scope ambiguities.
Eight people, some of them with valuable comments, responded to the
questionnaire. A short summary is given below with the result in the
parenthesis of each sentence. I'd like to express my heartful thanks to
the following linguists.


Deborah Milam Berkley <dberkleybabel.ling.nwu.edu>
Barbara Lazenby Simpson <bsimpsontcd.ie>
stephen p spackman <stephenacm.org>
Chris Johns <csrj100hermes.cam.ac.uk>
Roland Stuckardt <stuckardtcompuserve.com>
George Huttar 709 2400 <George_HuttarSIL.ORG>
spencerrainbow.net.au
"H Stephen Straight (Binghamton University/SUNY)"
<sstraighbinghamton.edu>


*************************<Questionnaire>****************************

Please mark with +A if the following sentences are ambiguous, with +mA
if they are marginally ambiguous, and with -A if they are not ambiguous
at all.

...................
I. Between "do = expect/hope/intend to visit" and "do =visit"

(1) Which student expects/hopes/intends to visit which city that you do?
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 37.5%) (-A: 25%)

...................
II. Between 'cardinals'/'some'/'what' and 'every'/'most'

(2) a. Some congressional aide asked to see every report.
 (+A: 12.5%) (+mA: 25%) (-A: 62.5%)
 b. Some congressional aide asked John to see every report.
 (+A: 12.5%) (+mA: 37.5%) (-A: 50%)
 c. Some congressional aide saw every report.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 62.5%)

(3) a. At least two American tour groups expect to visit every European
 country this year.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 50%)
 b. At least two American tour groups expect to visit every European
 country next year.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 62.5%)
 c. At least two American tour groups visited every European country
 last year.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 50%)

(4) At least one tourist wants to visit every city.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 25%) (-A: 50%)

(5) a. Some agency intends to send aid to every Bosnian city this year.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 62.5%)
 b. Some agency intends to send aid to every Bosnian city next year.
 (+A: 50%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 50%)
 c. Some agency sent aid to every Bosnian city last year.
 (+A: 50%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 50%)

(6) a. At least four recreational vehicles tried to stop at most AAA
 approved campsites last year.
 (+A: 75%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 25%)
 b. At least four recreational vehicles stopped at most AAA approved
 campsites last year.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 50%)

(7) At least two American tour groups are expected to visit every
 European country this year.
 (+A: 62.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 37.5%)

(8) Some agency is expected to send aide to every Bosnian city this
year.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 37.5%) (-A: 37.5%)

(9) At least four recreational vehicles are expected to stop at most
AAA
 approved campsites this year.
 (+A: 50%) (+mA: 25%) (-A: 25%)

(10) Some congressional aide is expected to see every report.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 62.5%)

(11) a. Someone expects to dance with every woman.
 (+A: 50%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 37.5%)
 b. Someone wants to dance with every woman.
 (+A: 62.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 25%)

(12) a. Someone promised her to invite everyone.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 62.5%)
 b. Someone persuaded her to invite everyone.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 50%)
 c. Someone persuaded her that she should invite everyone.
 (+A: 12.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 75%)
 d. John promised someone to invite everyone.
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 75%)
 e. John persuaded someone to invite everyone.
 (+A: 37.5%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 62.5%)
=====>One person was mute on (12a,b,c)

(13) a. What did everyone make a plan to say?
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 62.5%)
 b. What did everyone plan to say?
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 25%) (-A: 50%)

(14) a. What did you make the claim that everyone said?
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 37.5%)
====>Three people judged (14a) to be ungrammatical or unacceptable.
 b. What did you claim that everyone said?
 (+A: 12.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 75%)

...................
III. Between 'who' and 'everyone'

(15) a. Who does everyone think you saw?
 (+A: 12.5%) (+mA: 12.5%) (-A: 75%)
 b. Who does everyone think saw you?
 (+A: 25%) (+mA: 0%) (-A: 75%)

******************************************************************************

Best wishes,
Eung-Cheon Hah
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