Cross-linguistic comparisons on distributive universal quantification: Each vs. every vs. mei

Authors

  • Shi-Zhe Huang Haverford College
  • Tyler Knowlton University of Pennsylvania
  • Florian Schwarz University of Pennsylvania

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v9i1.5678

Keywords:

universal quantification; , pair-list readings; , topicality; , Skolem function; , semantic experiments; , event semantics; , Mandarin Chinese

Abstract

This paper discusses differences between each and every with regard to (a) pair-list readings; (b) subject/object asymmetries seen with every but not with each; and (c) the long-held intuition that each is more individualistic whereas every is friendlier to groups. We propose that these phenomena can be captured by prior accounts of the Mandarin Chinese distributive universal quantifier mei. In particular, we consider the Double Variable Hypothesis (the idea that in DUQ, for every x, there must be a y) (S.-Z. Huang 1995; 1996), and the Skolemized Topicality Hypothesis (the idea that topical quantifiers are Skolemized, resulting in the required x-y pairings) (S.-Z. Huang 2022b). We argue that (a’) pair-list answers to questions with quantifiers are derivable from the Double Variable Hypothesis; (b’) the subject/object asymmetry seen in every is due to its positionally-varied association with the Double Variable Hypothesis, while each is always subject to Skolemized Topicality due to its inherent topicality; and (c’) the individualistic interpretation of each can be described as stemming from its intrinsically Skolemized topicality as well. Results from experimental works will be brought to bear on the theoretical proposals. 

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Published

2024-05-15

How to Cite

Huang, Shizhe, Tyler Knowlton, and Florian Schwarz. 2024. “Cross-Linguistic Comparisons on Distributive Universal Quantification: Each Vs. Every Vs. Mei”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5678. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v9i1.5678.