Sascha Alexeyenko (Göttingen)

Modeling quantification in event semantics: Evidence from habituals

In semantic systems that take events to be a basic semantic type, several equally well established analyses of the semantics of quantificational DPs exist. On the one hand, QPs may be traditionally assumed to denote generalized quantifiers of type ⟨et,t⟩ (e.g., Landman, 2000). On the other hand, QPs may also be assumed to be expressions of type ⟨⟨e,vt⟩,vt⟩ that make reference both to ‘ensemble’ events and to sub-events and introduce an existential quantifier over sub-events in the scope of quantifiers over individuals (e.g., Schein, 1993; Ferreira, 2005). Both analyses capture the fact that the event quantifier always takes scope under quantifiers over individuals (cf. the Event Type Principle in Landman (2000)): due to obligatory QR to TP in the generalized quantifiers analysis and due to the presence of an existential quantifier over sub-events in the sub-events analysis. However, the latter analysis has also been argued to be able to account for some further data, viz. for adverbs qualifying ensemble events and for mixed cumulative/distributive readings (Schein, 1993; Kratzer, 2000).

The goal of this talk is to show that the sub-events analysis also provides a better account of the Event Type Principle if a broader range of data is considered. So far, it was mainly cases involving a universal quantifier over individuals and an existential quantifier over events that have been looked at when comparing the generalized quantifiers analysis and the sub-events analysis. The talk extends the scope of this comparison to cases with an existential quantifier over individuals and a universal/generic quantifier over events and demonstrates that the sub-events analysis but not the generalized quantifiers analysis successfully accounts for the interpretation of indefinites in habituals and universally quantified sentences. In doing so, it also pursues another, secondary goal: to develop an analysis of the semantics of habituality that allows for a unified treatment of habituals and universally quantified sentences on the one hand and of habituals and progressives on the other.