Author(s)Hackl, Martin, 1968-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy.
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The main goal of the thesis is to present a novel analysis of comparative quantifiers such as more than three students. The prevalent view on such expressions advocated in Generalized Quantifier Theory is that they denoted generalized quantifiers ranging over individuals - entirely on a par with expressions like every student, some student(s), etc. According to this view, more than three is a determiner (like every) that is, even though morpho-syntactically complex, semantically a simplex expression that can be viewed as denoting a relation between sets of individuals. The proposal that will be developed in this thesis on the other hand maintains that expressions like more than three are also semantically complex. More specifically, an analysis of comparative quantifiers will be given that is fully compositional down to level of the formation of comparative determiners. The proposal is based on concepts that are independently needed to analyze comparative constructions. Three main pieces will be argued to form the semantic and syntactic core of comparative quantifiers: a degree function expressed by many, a degree description given by the numeral (which will be analyzed as measure phrase) and the comparative relation expressed by the comparative morpheme -er. Importantly, each of the three pieces can be empirically shown to interact in predictably (and partially independent) ways with elements inside the quantifier as well as with elements in the matrix clause. These interactions are unexpected unless comparative quantifiers are built in the syntax. Giving a fully compositional analysis is therefore not just conceptually appealing but also required to explain new empirical generalizations. The more general enterprise that this thesis hopes pave the way is giving a uniform and fully compositional analysis of comparative quantificational structures that does not exist so far.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, February 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 187-193).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy.