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16. Quantification


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Syntax

Key-Topics generative grammar, grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00018.x


Natural language sentences are used by speakers to communicate facts, beliefs, queries, and information in general about entities or individuals, their properties or relations with other individuals, or generalizations about their nature as entities. Languages differ in the devices they use to express reference to individuals, or generalizations about a number of individuals. A sentence such as Pedro is tall consists of a subject noun phrase ( Pedro ) and a predicate ( tall ). The predicate attributes the property it describes (‘being tall’) to the individual the subject refers to (‘Pedro’). Proper names are almost always directly referential, in that they are used to point directly to an individual. When a noun phrase is headed by a determiner ( a , every , many , most , etc.), this element plays a crucial role in the predication process and may convey a generalization about individuals that goes beyond direct reference. Such noun phrases are sometimes called determiner phrases or quantifier phrases in the literature, highlighting the central functional role of the determiner (cf. Bosque and Gutiérrez-Rexach (2009 : ch. 10) and Picallo ( Chapter 14 , above) for details on the syntactic structure of the noun phrase). For reasons of space we will mostly focus on the semantics of Spanish quantifiers in this chapter. Sánchez López (1999) , Leonetti (1999, 2007) , and Bosque ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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