Decomposing Quantifier Phrases and Split Scope
Chris Collins, Paul Postal
June 2018

In this paper, we propose to analyze split scope in terms of quantification over covert number/amount expressions, so that a quantifier phrase like no employees can have a syntactic and semantic analysis similar to the pseudo-partitive no number of employees. More specifically, we propose to syntactically decompose some negative existential quantifier phrases (e.g., no employees) into two components: (a) an existential quantification over numbers, and (b) a quantification over sums of individuals. We show how these two components have an effect on truth conditions just in case the scope positions of the two components are separated by certain other quantificational expressions, including modal verbs. We argue that this approach is consistent with the proposals about the syntax and semantics of negation and quantifier scope in Collins and Postal (2014) and, moreover, yields an analysis of no employees type split scope cases requiring no special assumptions about negation or quantifier scope beyond those in that work.
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Reference: lingbuzz/004046
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: split scope, pseudo-partitives, existential quantifiers, semantics, syntax
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