Epistemic Indefinites: Exploring Modality Beyond the Verbal Domain

Hardcover | May 30, 2015

EditorLuis Alonso-Ovalle, Paula Menand#233;ndez-Benito

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This book brings together novel work on the semantics and pragmatics of certain indefinite expressions that also convey modality. These epistemic indefinites are determiners or pronouns that signal ignorance on the part of the speaker, such as German irgendein and Spanish algun: the sentenceMaria se caso con algun medico ("Maria married some doctor or other") both makes an existential statement that there is a doctor that Maria married and signals the speaker's inability or unwillingness to identify the doctor in question. Although epistemic indefinites have featured in recent semantic literature, a full understanding of the phenomenon is still lacking: there is currently no agreement on the source of their epistemic component; there is insufficient cross-linguistic data to develop a semantic typology of these items;and the parallelisms and differences between epistemic indefinites and other expressions that convey epistemic modality have not been explored in depth. In this volume, a team of experts in the field offer novel empirical observations and important theoretical insights on epistemic indefinites andrelated topics such as modal free relatives, modified numerals, and epistemic modals. They provide a coherent overview of the issues that shape the subject as well as placing them in the context of current semantic research, moving towards the development of a semantic typology of epistemicindefinites that explores the place of these expressions within a general typology of modal items.

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This book brings together novel work on the semantics and pragmatics of certain indefinite expressions that also convey modality. These epistemic indefinites are determiners or pronouns that signal ignorance on the part of the speaker, such as German irgendein and Spanish algun: the sentenceMaria se caso con algun medico ("Maria marrie...

Luis Alonso-Ovalle is Associate Professor at McGill University. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics (2006) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his research focuses on natural language semantics and its interfaces with pragmatics. His published work in these areas includes articles in Natural Language Semantics, Journal of...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:May 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019966529X

ISBN - 13:9780199665297

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Table of Contents

1. Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Paula Menandeacute;ndez-Benito: Epistemic indefinites: An overviewPart I Extending the Empirical Landscape2. Gennaro Chierchia and Hsiu-Chen Daphne Liao: Where do Chinese wh-items fit?3. Anamaria Fand#259;land#259;uand#351;: Romanian epistemic indefinites4. Benjamin Slade: Sinhala epistemic indefinites with a certain je ne sais quoi5. Benjamin Slade: A short history of English epistemic indefinitesPart II Sources of Evidence, Epistemic Indefinites, and Epistemic Modals6. Maria Aloni and Angelika Port: Epistemic indefinites and methods of identification7. Lisa Matthewson: Evidential restrictions on epistemic modalsPart III Specificity8. Stefan Hinterwimmer and Carla Umbach: Grading and hedging by gewiss9. Tania Ionin: Certain properties of certain indefinites: An experimental perspectivePart IV Other Modal DPs10. Cleo Condoravdi: Ignorance, indifference, and individuation in wh-ever11. Rick Nouwen: Modified numerals: The epistemic effect12. Kyle Rawlins: Indifference and scalar implicaturesReferencesIndex