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Share Paper 1836

An Experimental Investigation of the Semantics and Pragmatics of Specificity
Tania Ionin
229-237 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper investigates the semantic and pragmatic conditions on specific indefinites using experimental methodology. The results of a context-based interpretation task on the scope-taking behavior of English indefinites provide empirical support for the proposal of Schwarz (2001) that the long-distance readings of a certain-indefinites and a-indefinites are derived through different semantic mechanisms. The study findings also raise new questions concerning the pragmatic conditions on the interpretation of English indefinites. An additional task probes the identifiability requirement on a certain-indefinites (Farkas 2002).

Published in

Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00