Gaps in the interpretation of pronouns

Keny Chatain


Donkey sentences receive either existential or universal truth-conditions. This paper presents two new data points going against standard dynamic approaches to this ambiguity: first, I show that the ambiguity extends beyond quantified environments, to cross-clausal anaphora. Second, I show that donkey sentences can give rise to narrow pseudo-scope readings, where the pronoun's implicit quantification takes scope below some operator in the sentence. Neither of these facts is predicted by standard dynamic accounts. Together, they suggest a different analysis in which the ambiguity arises when the pronoun has multiple referents to pick from. Inspired by Champollion (2017), I propose that when such circumstances arise, the pronoun receives vague reference. Using standard rules of projection is then sufficient to derive the existential/universal ambiguity as well as the two problematic data points.

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