IRCS Technical Reports Series

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

December 1996


University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research in Cognitive Science Technical Report No. IRCS-96-36.


In the more recent generalized quantifier theory, 'every' is defined as a relation between two sets such that the first set is a subset of the second set (Cooper (1987), van Benthem (1986)). We argue in this dissertation that the formal definition of 'every' ought to reflect our intuition that this quantifier is always associated with a pairing. For instance, 'Every student left' means that for every student there is an event (Davidson (1966), Kroch (1974), Mourelatos (1978), Bach (1986)) such that the student left in that event.

We propose that the formal translation of EVERY be augmented by relating its two arguments via a skolem function. A skolem function links two variables by making the choice of a value for one variable depend on the choice of a value for the other. This definition of EVERY, after which 'every' and its Chinese counterpart 'mei' can be modeled, can help us explain the co-occurrence pattern between 'mei' and the adverb 'dou'.

It was observed in S.-Z. Huang (1995a) that 'mei' requires either 'dou', or an indefinite phrase, or a reflexive in its scope. Under the skolemized definition of EVERY, this is explainable: The skolem function needs a variable in the scope of EVERY. We stipulate that only morphologically/lexically licensed variables are available for quantification (of this kind). 'Dou' occurs with 'mei' because 'dou' can license the event variable for skolemization. This function of 'dou' is performed by the tense operator in English, while Chinese, lacking tense, resorts to 'dou'.

'Dou', we will argue, is a sum operator on the event variable. Thus, 'dou VPs' always assert plural events, which predicts that the distribution of 'dou' may or may not involve universal quantification. Among other things, our account explains scope ambiguity in Chinese, the optionality of 'dou', and the interchangeability, in a number of contexts, between 'dou' and conjunction/additive words for VPs such as 'ye' "also, and", 'you' "also, again", and 'hai' "also, still".



Date Posted: 14 September 2006