The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Job Visit: Martin Hackl

Martin Hackl will visit MIT on Monday and Tuesday, March 3 – 4.

Please plan to come to his talk:

Monday, March 3, 3 – 4:30pm
“Quantifiers in Object Position”


Quantifiers play a central role in syntax and semantics because they raise fundamental questions about the expressive power and the combinatorial processes found in natural language. A good portion of these questions are due to the fact that quantifiers don’t refer, yet they seem to combine freely (just like referring DPs) with expressions that describe n-place relations between individuals.

This talk compares three classes of approaches to this puzzle in terms of their implications for real time processing of quantifiers in extensional and intensional environments. I will argue, based on evidence from a series of sentence processing studies, for the view that quantifiers and referring expressions have different combinatorial properties and that the grammar employs syntactic mechanisms (e.g. Quantifier Raising) to maintain distributional uniformity of all DPs at surface structure rather than purely semantic mechanisms (e.g. Type-shifting).