Technical Report LCL9903

Title: Plural Type Quantification
Authors: Yoad Winter
Abstract: This paper introduces some of the main components of a novel type theoretical semantics for quantification with plural noun phrases. This theory, unlike previous ones, sticks to the standard generalized quantifier treatment of singular noun phrases and uses only one lifting operator per semantic category (predicate, quantifier and determiner) for quantification with plurals. Following Bennett (1974), plural individuals are treated as functions of type et. Plural nouns and other plural predicates accordingly denote (et)t functions. Such predicates do not match the standard (et)((et)t) type of determiners. Following Partee and Rooth (1983), type mismatches are resolved using type shifting operators. These operators derive collectivity with plurals, keeping the analysis of singular noun phrases, where no type mismatch arises, as in Barwise and Cooper (1981). A single type shifting operator for determiners combines into one reading the existential shift and the counting (neutral) shift of Scha (1981) and Van der Does (1993). This operator combines the conservativity principle of generalized quantifier theory with Szabolcsi's (1997) existential quantification over witness sets. The unified lift prevents unmotivated ambiguity as well as the monotonicity ill of existential lifts pointed out by Van Benthem (1986).
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