Dag Haug

Dag Haug (Textlab/ILN): Reciprocals and their scope

Reciprocal constructions often display a scope ambiguity:

(1) Two girls thought that they saw each other.
(1) a. Narrow scope: Each thought: ‘We saw each other.’
(1) b. Wide scope: Each thought: ‘I saw her.’

On the face of it, such evidence supports a quantificational theory of reciprocity and not a relational theory that assimilates reciprocal sentences to cumulative predication (Langendoen 1988). In the first part of this talk, I will present our relational theory of reciprocity, which is couched in plural dynamic semantics and does solve the scope problem (Haug and Dalrymple 2020). In the second part of the talk, I will survey reciprocal constructions where the scope is (or has been claimed to be) fixed, i.e. only the narrow or the wide scope reading is available. Relevant structures are coordinations with collective VPs, control structures, pronominal antecedents that are obligatorily bound or free, logophoric antecedents and constructions with obligatory scope marking. I show that our theory yields the right predictions for all these structures.

Published Nov. 27, 2021 12:22 AM - Last modified Nov. 29, 2021 3:31 PM