On The Analysis of Scope Ambiguities in Comparative Constructions: Converging Evidence from Real-Time Sentence Processing and Offline Data

Micha Yochanan Breakstone, Alexandre Cremers, Danny Fox, Martin Hackl


This paper compares two accounts of an ambiguity that arises when a comparative phrase containing an exactly differential is embedded under an intensional operator (Heim 2000). Under one account, the comparative phrase is responsible for the ambiguity (the er-scope theory), and, under the other, the ambiguity is attributed to the exactly phrase (the exactly-scope theory). We present converging evidence from the distribution of de re and de dicto readings and real time sentence processing that supports the er-scope theory. Since the er-scope theory presupposes a quantificational analysis of the comparative, such an analysis is ipso facto supported by our results.


Comparatives, Scope, Sentence Processing

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v21i0.2609

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