This study experimentally investigates how quantifier scope interpretation is affected by prosody in Korean. Participants heard a sentence with two quantifier phrases, subject QP and object QP in SOV word order, and saw two pictures which indicated two potential readings of the sentence: a subject-wide scope reading and an object-wide scope reading. Participants were instructed to give scores based on how they thought the sentence they heard could be naturally used to describe each picture. The results show that Korean shows scope inversion when the subject QP is focused and the object QP is de-stressed, as in other rigid scope languages (German, (Büring 1994, Krifka 1998); Russian (Antonyuk-Yudina 2011, Ionin and Luchkina 2015); Japanese (Kitagawa 1990)). However, not all types of QP in object position can take wide scope when it is de-stressed. When the object quantifier is a numeral quantifier, it is significantly more likely to have wide scope when it is de-stressed. By way of contrast, when the object quantifier is a modified numeral quantifier or motun "every/all" NP, it can rarely take wide scope regardless of prosody. It can be interpreted as QPs that can be topical can have wide scope with a help of prosody, while QPs that cannot be topical cannot. Based on the results, this paper proposes that scope inversion with a help of prosody is due to covert topic movement of the object QP over the subject QP.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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