Date of Award

9-2011

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Linguistics

First Advisor

Angelika Kratzer

Second Advisor

Lyn Frazier

Third Advisor

Christopher Potts

Subject Categories

Linguistics

Abstract

This dissertation investigates various topics concerning the interpretation of determiner phrases and their connection to individual entities. The first chapter looks at a phenomenon called telescoping, in which a quantificational expression appears to bind a pronominal form across sentence boundaries, at odds with commonly assumed and well motivated constraints on binding. I investigate the limited circumstances under which telescoping is available and argue that the mechanism that makes it available should respect said locality constraints. In particular, I argue that the impression of co-variation arises not because of binding by the initial quantificational expression, but because an of independent, albeit unpronounced, quantificational operator in the second sentence. I will show cases where the domains of these two quantificational operators are independent, incompatible with approaches that assume a single operator. This result also entails that no reference to constructed individuals, e.g. prototypical or average individuals is needed. In the second chapter, I look at the German lexical item lauter and argue that DPs headed by lauter are purely predicational. After presenting an overview of the various kinds of interpretations that a DP can receive, and some discussion objecting to the idea of treating these as cases of lexical ambiguity, I show data that illustrate that lauter DPs cannot receive many of these interpretations. At the end of the chapter, I speculate about ways in which purely predicative DPs may appear and be interpreted in some, but not all, positions that arguments typically occupy, resulting in a restricted distribution and less freedom in the range of interpretations. In the last chapter, I look at an instance of a semantically complex determiner, the English item any. Instead of adding to the discussion based on an investigation of any, I propose that this hidden semantic complexity has a transparent reflex in German, where the lexical item überhaupt spells out a logically independent part of the proposed meaning of any, namely its domain widening meaning.

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