Universal Free Choice and Innocent Inclusion

Moshe E. Bar-Lev, Danny Fox


The goal of this paper is to provide a global account of universal Free Choice (FC) inferences (argued to be needed in Chemla 2009b). We propose a stronger exhaustivity operator than proposed in Fox (2007), one that doesn’t only negate all the Innocently Excludable (IE) alternatives but also asserts all the ``Innocently Includable'' (II) ones, and subsequently can derive universal FC inferences globally. We further show that Innocent Inclusion is independently motivated by considerations that come from the semantics of only (data from Alxatib 2014). Finally, the distinction between Innocent Exclusion and Innocent Inclusion allows us to capture differences between FC inferences and other scalar implicatures.

Full Text:



Aloni, Maria. 2007. Free choice, modals, and imperatives. Natural Language Semantics 15(1). 65–94. doi:10.1007/s11050-007-9010-2.

Alonso-Ovalle, Luis. 2005. Distributing the disjuncts over the modal space. In L. Bateman & C. Ussery (eds.), North East Linguistic Society (NELS) 35, 1–12.

Alxatib, Sam. 2014. Free choice disjunctions under only. In North East Linguistic Society (NELS) 44, 15–28.

Bar-Lev, Moshe E. & Danny Fox. 2016. On the global calculation of embedded implicatures. Poster presented at MIT workshop on exhaustivity.

Bar-Lev, Moshe E. & Daniel Margulis. 2014. Hebrew kol: a universal quantifier as an undercover existential. In U. Etxeberria, A. Fălăuş, A. Irurtzun & B. Leferman (eds.), Sinn und Bedeutung 18, 60–76.

Bassi, Itai & Moshe E. Bar-Lev. 2016. A unified existential semantics for bare conditionals. To appear in Sinn und Bedeutung 21.

Bowler, Margit. 2014. Conjunction and disjunction in a language without ’and’. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 24. 137–155. doi:10.3765/salt.v24i0.2422.

Chemla, Emmanuel. 2009a. Similarity: Towards a unified account of scalar implicatures, free choice permission and presupposition projection. Unpublished manuscript.

Chemla, Emmanuel. 2009b. Universal implicatures and free choice effects: Experimental data. Semantics and Pragmatics 2(2). 1–33. doi:10.3765/sp.2.2.

Chemla, Emmanuel & Lewis Bott. 2014. Processing inferences at the semantics/pragmatics frontier: Disjunctions and free choice. Cognition 130(3). 380–396. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2013.11.013.

Chierchia, Gennaro, Danny Fox & Benjamin Spector. 2012. Scalar implicature as a grammatical phenomenon. In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning 3, 2297–2331. Mouton de Gruyter. doi:10.1515/9783110253382.2297.

Crnič, Luka, Emmanuel Chemla & Danny Fox. 2015. Scalar implicatures of embedded disjunction. Natural Language Semantics 23(4). 271–305. doi:10.1007/s11050-015-9116-x.

Davidson, Kathryn. 2013. ‘And’ or ‘or’: General use coordination in ASL. Semantics and Pragmatics 6(4). 1–44. doi:10.3765/sp.6.4.

Deal, Amy Rose. 2011. Modals without scales. Language 87(3). 559–585. doi:10.1353/lan.2011.0060.

Fox, Danny. 2007. Free choice and the theory of scalar implicatures. In Uli Sauerland & Penka Stateva (eds.), Presupposition and implicature in Compositional Semantics, 71–120. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. doi:10.1057/9780230210752_4.

Fox, Danny & Roni Katzir. 2011. On the characterization of alternatives. Natural Language Semantics 19(1). 87–107. doi:10.1007/s11050-010-9065-3.

Franke, Michael. 2011. Quantity implicatures, exhaustive interpretation, and rational conversation. Semantics and Pragmatics 4(1). 1–82. doi:10.3765/sp.4.1.

Gotzner, Nicole & Jacopo Romoli. 2017. The scalar inferences of strong scalar terms under negative quantifiers and constraints on the theory of alternatives. To appear in Journal of Semantics.

Kamp, Hans. 1974. Free choice permission. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74(1). 57–74. doi:10.1093/aristotelian/74.1.57.

Katzir, Roni. 2007. Structurally-defined alternatives. Linguistics and Philosophy 30(6). 669–690. doi:10.1007/s10988-008-9029-y.

Katzir, Roni. 2014. On the roles of markedness and contradiction in the use of alternatives. In Salvatore Pistoia Reda (ed.), Pragmatics, Semantics and the Case of Scalar Implicatures, 40–71. Springer. doi:10.1057/9781137333285_3.

Klinedinst, Nathan Winter. 2007. Plurality and possibility: University of California, Los Angeles PhD dissertation.

Kratzer, Angelika & Junko Shimoyama. 2002. Indeterminate pronouns: The view from japanese. In Yukio Otsu (ed.), The Third Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, 1–25. Hituzi Syobo.

Magri, Giorgio. 2009. A theory of individual-level predicates based on blind mandatory scalar implicatures. Natural language semantics 17(3). 245–297. doi:10.1007/s11050-009-9042-x.

Meyer, Marie-Christine. 2016. Generalized free choice and missing alternatives. Journal of Semantics 33(4). 703–754. doi:10.1093/jos/ffv010.

Meyer, Marie-Christine & Uli Sauerland. 2016. Covert across-the-board movement revisited. Talk given at North East Linguistic Society (NELS) 47, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Nouwen, Rick. 2017. Free choice and distribution over disjunction: the case of free choice ability. Manuscript, Utrecht University.

Sauerland, Uli. 2004. Scalar implicatures in complex sentences. Linguistics and philosophy 27(3). 367–391. doi:10.1023/B:LING.0000023378.71748.db.

Simons, Mandy. 2005. Dividing things up: The semantics of or and the modal/or interaction. Natural Language Semantics 13(3). 271–316. doi:10.1007/s11050-004-2900-7.

Singh, Raj, Ken Wexler, Andrea Astle-Rahim, Deepthi Kamawar & Danny Fox. 2016. Children interpret disjunction as conjunction: Consequences for theories of implicature and child development. Natural Language Semantics 24(4). 305–352. doi:10.1007/s11050-016-9126-3.

Starr, William. 2016. Expressing permission. In Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26, 325–349. doi:10.3765/salt.v26i0.3832.

Zimmermann, Thomas Ede. 2000. Free choice disjunction and epistemic possibility. Natural Language Semantics 8(4). 255–290. doi:10.1023/A:1011255819284.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v27i0.4133

Copyright (c) 2017 Moshe E. Bar-Lev, Danny Fox