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Virginia Dawson Colloquium

February 21, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Paths to exceptional wide scope: Choice functions in Tiwa

Choice functions have been invoked in the analysis of indefinites and disjunction in order to explain their ability to take wide scope from within islands, and to explain cross-linguistic variation in whether a given indefinite can or must take wide scope (Reinhart 1997, Kratzer 1998, Matthewson 1999, Winter 2002, a.o.). In the last two decades, however, data have been raised that prove problematic for a choice functional analysis of (most) English wide scope indefinites and disjunction (Chierchia 2001, Schwarz 2001, Charlow 2014): the analysis over-generates in downward-entailing environments when there is a bound pronoun in the indefinite restrictor or the individual disjuncts. These data have led to new theories of exceptional scope that avoid this over-generation problem. In this talk, I revisit the benefits of a choice functional analysis for obligatory wide scope indefinites and disjunction in Tiwa (Tibeto-Burman; India). I show that a choice functional analysis does not over-generate wide scope readings for these elements in downward-entailing environments, but makes exactly the right predictions. These findings suggest that exceptional wide scope is not derived via a single mechanism in all cases, but that there are multiple distinct routes available to languages. I conclude with some preliminary typological generalizations.


February 21, 2020
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


18 Seminary Place, Room 108