The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling-Lunch 3/11: Peter Jenks

Please join us for this week’s ling-lunch:

Speaker: Peter Jenks (Harvard)
Time: Thurs 3/11, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461
Title: Quantifier float, adverbs, and scope in Thai

Novel data in Thai suggest that quantifier float, properly analyzed, lends further merit to the idea that quantifiers and argument NPs do not always join the clause as a single DP. More specifically, Thai data suggest that quantifier float occurs when an adverb is base generated in its scope position, triggering covert movement of an argument NP. Thai has SVOAdv word order, with floated quantifiers appearing in adverbial positions. I present arguments against a “pure” stranding analysis, where the NP is always generated Q-internally and then moved, as well as arguments against Q-float as extraposition. However, island sensitivity and the interpretation of these quantifiers suggest that they are directly associated with argument NPs by movement. In order to resolve this conflict, I rely on three notions: a) base generation of FQs in their scope positions b) QR via movement or reconstruction to somewhere in the Thai middlefield by an NP and c) generalized VP-raising. I will also try to show that that this analysis can account for the typology of quantifier float in classifier languages, which is limited to languages which allow the DP-internal order N-Q-Cl.