We are happy to announce a talk by Jan Köpping (GU) and Sarah Zobel (University of Oslo) at the Semantics Colloquium.
Please register beforehand (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive the access data to zoom on Thursday shortly before the talk starts.
Title:Two types of existential quantification
Date: January 28
Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct
We argue that natural language distinguishes between two types of existential quantification. This is observable in the contrasting semantic behavior of indefinite expressions, which allow for anaphoric relationships, on the one hand, and existentially used dedicated impersonal pronouns and implicit agents of episodic short passives, which do not, on the other. We present a formal system that blends existing static and dynamic accounts, which allows us to model both types of existential quantification by distinguishing two existential quantifiers: a “dynamic” existential quantifier that introduces a new discourse referent and thus allows for anaphoric relationships and a “static” one that does not. The second quantifier is argued to capture the observed discourse inertness of existentially used dedicated impersonal pronouns and implicit agents of short passives without any further assumptions.