Dependent indefinites in dynamic plural logic

Jeremy Kuhn, New York University


Dependent indefinites/numerals are morphologically inflected indefinites/numerals that are required to vary with respect to another plural or distributive operator in the sentence. (Telugu: 'Every boy saw two-two monkeys' means that there are two monkeys per boy.) Recent analyses have formalized this constraint within the framework of Dynamic Plural Logic (DPlL), a variant of dynamic semantics that is able to manipulate and refer to plurals and dependencies (van den Berg 1996, Nouwen 2003, Brasoveanu 2008, Henderson 2014, Champollion 2014). However, there are many choice points in the formulation of DPlL; these differences are perhaps most evident in the different ways in which cumulative readings are analyzed.

I will discuss these differences, including predictions for conjoined cumulative/distributive sentences ('My friends ordered two appetizers to share and one main dish each'). I will propose an analysis of dependent indefinites that follows Henderson 2014 in distinguishing two levels of plurality ('domain level' and 'evaluation level'). However, I depart from Henderson 2014 by defining these levels with respect to another argument in the sentence (the licensor). This simplifies the semantic architecture in some ways, but requires dependent indefinites to be semantically linked to their licensor. I argue that spatial agreement in ASL provides overt evidence for this anaphoric link.