...nothing is left to guesswork.

Recent Work:
An investigation of connected exceptive constructions and scalarity
Except-phrases and "only" presentation notes
Donkey Anaphora and Variable-Free Semantics

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My analysis of exceptive constructions (closed, that is) with respect to scalarity to come shortly. For now, a criticism of Moltmann 1995 that will not make the current draft of the paper, but much more interesting than that scalarity stuff.

Moltmann argues that the Homogeneity Condition is required to secure that only universal and negative universal quantification is allowed when a (closed) exceptive is involved. She claims that von Fintel's (1993) Uniqueness Condition is not enough to guarantee that "Most students/More than half of the students but John went to the party" is ungrammatical. And true enough, the Uniqueness Condition would yield true given the correct model for such constructions. However, is it necessary to encode the Quantifier Constraint explicitly as a presupposition? After all, the Uniqueness Condition will require that whenever such sentences are true, so too are their stronger universal counterparts. That is, given a model when the relevant individuals are {Mary, Sue, John, Tom, Bill}, then only way "More than half the students but John went to the party" can be true (or at least pass the Uniqueness Condition) is when {John} is the uniquely smallest set which when subtracted from "more than half the students" makes that quantification true. However, that means that a logically stronger statement could be made; that EVERY student but John went to the party. One then wonders if perhaps the failure to fulfill a Gricean maxim could account for the oddness of "More than half the students but John" and if the Homogeneity Condition is not superfluous.

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