Elena Callegari & Riccardo Pulicani
Nobody Likes «Everyone»
(but most people like lists)
We report the results of a forced-choice acceptability judgment experiment testing the interpretation of quantified subject questions (i.e., matrix subject interrogatives containing a quantifier, e.g. "Which writer read each book?") in Italian. Our specific goal was to investigate the availability of a pair-list interpretation (PL) as opposed to an individual-answer one, as well as the effect of topicalization on the availability of such readings.
Three different types of quantifiers were tested: every, each and at least a. Overall, the results show that a PL interpretation is available for the majority of speakers even in subject questions, contra Chierchia (1993). The different quantifiers however vary greatly both concerning the acceptability of a PL interpretation, and the effect of topicalization, with "every/everyone" being the one quantifier that almost no one accepts under a PL reading if in non-topicalized structures.