Linguistics in Göttingen - A platform for empirical and theoretical linguistics

Viola Schmitt (Göttingen/Vienna): Scopelessness

My point of departure is the observation (made by Scha 1981 and many others) that DPs that may take scope w.r.t. other DPs -- here called QPs -- sometimes lack such scopal interaction. Due to the parallel of this latter construal with what we find in sentences where two or more definite plural DPs occur as co-arguments of a predicate, existing analyses usually aim to derive these facts qua the mechanisms standardly assumed to underlie plural predication, in particular, predicate cumulation. I argue that this approach, irrespective of its particular implementation, is flawed, my main point being that predicate cumulation does not yield the right truth-conditions for sentences with QPs and falsely predicts syntactic opacity, i.e. that syntactic asymmetries are not reflected in the meaning.
I suggest an alternative proposal, where plural predication is underlyingly weaker than is standardly assumed and subsequently strengthened in a stepwise fashion along the lines of the syntactic derivation.