Domain restriction: the problem of the variable location revisited
Diego Feinmann
March 2021

Two theories of implicit domain restriction have gained considerable prominence over the last two decades. According to von Fintel (1994), quantifiers come with covert restrictors and, as a result of this, induce domain restriction; according to Stanley (2002; Stanley and Szabó 2000), by contrast, nouns, as opposed to quantifiers, come with covert restrictors. In this article, I do three things. First, I assess existing arguments for and against these two accounts and show that none of them is conclusive. Second, I advance a novel empirical argument based on the observed pragmatic behaviour of bare nouns, an argument that falsifies Stanley’s theory while providing clear evidence in support of von Fintel’s (1994). Finally, I discuss the relevance of the bare noun data in the context of another important debate—namely, whether domain restriction is a local mechanism only, or whether it can also be achieved by global means.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006825
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistics and Philosophy
keywords: quantifier domain restriction, nominal restriction, context dependence, bare nouns, bare plurals, semantics
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