Different Kinds of Specificity Across Languages by Cornelia Ebert, Stefan Hinterwimmer

By Cornelia Ebert, Stefan Hinterwimmer

This anthology of papers analyzes more than a few specificity markers present in traditional languages. It displays the truth that regardless of extensive examine into those markers, the significant transformations among the markers throughout languages or even inside of unmarried languages were much less stated. generally appeared particular indefinites are not at all a homogenous category, and so this quantity fills a niche in our realizing of the semantics and pragmatics of indefinites.

The papers discover alterations and similarities between those specificity markers, targeting the subsequent concerns: no matter if specificity is a simply semantic or additionally a practical notion; no matter if the contribution of specificity markers is found at the point of the at-issue content material; no matter if a few form of speaker-listener asymmetry in regards to the id of the referent is concerned; and the behavioral scope of those indefinites within the context of different quantifiers, negation, angle verbs, and intensional/modal operators.

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3 The Interpretation of the German Specificity Markers Bestimmt and Gewiss (24) eine bestimmte/?? gewisse Handlung belohnt wird, a bestimmt/gewiss action rewarded will wiederholen Mensch und Tier sie häufiger repeat human and animal it more-often erfolglose Aktionen. unsuccessful actions. ’ Wenn If 45 dann then als than In the case of (24-b), the only sensible reading is one according to which the indefinite is interpreted inside the conditional, that is, the sentence is understood as a generic statement about actions performed by humans and animals, not as a statement about one distinct action.

7 I propose to assume that from the fact that indefinites in ENSs are attributively used, we can derive that they are predicate nominals (these being attributively used by definition). In other words, a sentence like (2) can be paraphrased as follows: (2) Oh! A package! I am surprised by the presence of what I see in front of me and I am surprised that it is a package. One advantage of this hypothesis is that it can explain why un certain N or generalized quantifiers like chaque N are not acceptable in ENSs.

1 for more discussion on this issue). This chapter is structured as follows: in Sect. 2, we will investigate syntactic properties and the combinatoric potential of the two items. 3 contains a host of data concerning semantic and pragmatic effects, in particular pertaining to identifiability and scope. In Sect. 4, we summarize observations on other specificity markers like English certain, French certain or the Russian indefinite pronouns -to and koe- from the literature in order to see where they parallel the German specificity markers.

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