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The syntax–semantics interface

Authors
Journal
Lingua
0024-3841
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
130
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2013.01.010
Keywords
  • Syntax–Semantics Interface
  • Logical Form
  • Quantification
  • Acd
  • Extraposition
Disciplines
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract The study of the syntax–semantics interface is concerned with linguistic phenomena that are the product of interactions between principles of syntactic organization and principles of semantic interpretation. Such interactions abound in natural language and can be found in all subsystems of the grammar. This paper examines a particular subclass of such phenomena revolving around quantificational expressions. The central concern of the discussion are the grammatical mechanisms that mediate between the syntactic position a quantifier appears in and the semantic import it has on the sentence meaning. Of particular interest are cases where a quantifier is interpreted in a position that is different from the position it seems to occupy in the syntax. A leading hypothesis to explain cases of this sort, which exemplify a general property of natural language called displacement, is that they are the product of overt or covert movement operations. Empirical support for this approach is presented in the form of correlations between three grammatical phenomena – Quantifier Scope, Antecedent Contained Deletion, and Extraposition – which receive a uniform account under the above hypothesis.

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