The Semantics of Scope of English

A. S. Kroch, 1974

for $29.95 x

This thesis aims to present a descriptively adequate and revealing analysis of the scope order relations among logical operator words in English sentences.  Prefatory to the analysis there is discussion of some philosophical issues in linguistic semantics, including a discussion of the correctness of translating natural language sentences into a formal language in order to produce semantic representations for the.  It is concluded that such representations have obvious benefits as indicators of the truth conditions of sentences and that the objections that have been raised against them are non well-founded.

The body of the thesis consists in the derivation of a number of rules that capture the scope ambiguities of a wide range of sentences and the scope order preferences or incompatibilities of a number of English logical operator words.  The rules themselves are of three kinds; a general surface ordering principle that fixes the initial scope order of the operator words in an English sentence according to their surface order; a set of scope readjustment rules that account for the scope ambiguities of English sentences; and a set of output filters that block or mark as unpreferred certain scope orders in the presence of certain operator words.  In the final chapter of the thesis an analysis of plurality is given and integrated with the analysis of scope so that some differences in scope behavior between singular and plural quantifier words can be explained.

Thesis Supervisor:         Paul Kiparsky

Table of Contents

1          Introduction                                                                                                      7

            Semantics of scope in formal and natural languages                                            7

            General semantic theory and the semantics of scope                                          18

            The problem of opacity                                                                         31

            Note to chapter one                                                                                          42

2          Some Linguistic Analyses of Scope Relations                                        44

            Introduction                                                                                                      44

            Dougherty.  Feature analysis of a scope ambiguity                                             45

            Heny"s analysis of scope ambiguity                                                                    52

            Jackendoff"s objections to logical formalism                                                      61

            Recent linguistic analyses of any                                                                        70

            Summary                                                                                                          75

            Notes to chapter two                                                                                        79

3          Scope of Universal Quantifiers, Indefinite Noun Phrases and Negation   81

            Introduction                                                                                                      81

            The universal quantifier and the indefinite noun phrase                            84

            Scope of negation                                                                                             107

            Summary to chapter three                                                                                 130

            Notes to chapter three                                                                                      132

4          Broadening the analysis of scope relations                                                         135

            Introduction                                                                                                      135

            Reformulating the description of scope relations                                     136

            Extending the analysis                                                                           150

            Modal scope                                                                                                    157

            Summary and conclusions                                                                                 178

            Notes to chapter four                                                                                        184

5          Plurality and Quantifier Scope                                                               186

            Introduction                                                                                                      186

            Universal quantifier and the unquantified plural                                       189

            The indefinite plural                                                                                           209

            Indefinite plural quantifiers                                                                                 229

            The NP quantifiers and adverbial quantification                                      245

            Notes to chapter five                                                                                        261