June 13, 2008: Robert van Rooij, Comparatives, quantifiers, and NPIs

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4:30pm, June 13, 2008
National Institute of Informatics, (National Center of Sciences Bldg.),
19th floor, Presentation Room (1904)
Robert van Rooij, University of Amsterdam
Comparatives, quantifiers, and NPIs
Recently, it has become a major issue how to account for quantifiers in the than-clauses of comparatives like `John is taller than everybody else.' It has become standard to follow Schwarzchild and Wilkinson (2003) making use of intervals. This approach looses the nice result of earlier approaches (e.g. Seuren, Klein, von Stechow), however, according to which the than-clause is a downward entailing environment and thus allows for negative polarity items. In this talk I will discuss two proposals to overcome this problem. According to the first, we stay close to the earlier approaches, but make use of granularity or intervals. According to the second, we assume that comparatives are ambiguous between a Klein-reading and a Larson-reading, and that the final reading is selected by means of the Strongest Meaning Hypothesis.

Semantics Research Group

Last modified: 2008-05-25 02:12:10 JST