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Quantification in English is Inherently Sortal

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Within Linguistics the semantic analysis of natural languages (English, Swahili, for example) has drawn extensively on semantical concepts first formulated and studied within classical logic, principally first order logic. Nowhere has this contribution been more substantive than in the domain of quantification and variable binding. As studies of these notions in natural language have developed they have taken on a life of their own, resulting in refinements and generalizations of the classical quantifiers as well as the discovery of new types of quantification which exceed the expressive capacity of the classical quantifiers. We refer the reader to Keenan and Westerstahl (1997) for an overview of results in this area. Here, we focus on one property of quantification in natural language-its inherently sortal nature-which distinguishes it from quantification in classical logic.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90024, USA; e-mail: ekeenan

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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