Indefinites in Negated Intensional Contexts: An argument for world-skolemized choice functions
Zahra Mirrazi
June 2024

This paper introduces a novel scope paradox. I show that indefinites in the surface syntactic scope of negated intensional operators can yield a reading in which the indefinite appears to take wider scope over the negation, and narrow scope with respect to the intensional operator. Genuine generalized quantifiers, in contrast, cannot yield such readings. The uniqueness of indefinites in giving rise to such wide pseudo-scope de dicto readings, which can also be found within a simple clause, provides evidence that indefinites differ from generalized quantifiers, not only in their ability to take exceptional scope out of clause boundaries, but also in their local scopal properties. I argue that the existence of such wide pseudo-scope de dicto readings not only poses a problem for the generalized quantifier view of indefinites, but also for any approach that takes indefinites to scope via syntactic movement. In-situ accounts of indefinites, on the other hand, can straightforwardly account for the new data, without over-generating genuine wide scope de dicto readings (a.k.a. the fourth readings) which are widely believed to be impossible (von Fintel & Heim, 2011; Keshet & Schwarz, 2019; Elliott, 2020). However, I argue that an account in terms of world-skolemized choice functions is more successful in accounting for the full pattern of the wide pseudo-scope de dicto reading in Farsi as well as cross-linguistic variations in the availability of such readings.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006124
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Semantics & Pragmatics.
keywords: indefinite, scope paradox, choice function, skolemization, intensionality, world variable, neg-raising, the fourth reading, semantics
previous versions: v2 [January 2023]
v1 [August 2021]
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