On universal Free Choice items

On universal Free Choice items
Menendez-Benito, P. (2010) 
Natural Language Semantics18(1) pp. 33-64.​

Menendez-Benito, Paula
Issue Date
Journal Article
This paper deals with the interpretation and distribution of universal Free Choice (FC) items, such as English FC any or Spanish cualquiera. Crosslinguistically, universal FC items can be characterized as follows. First, they have a restricted distribution. Second, they express freedom of choice: the sentence You can take any card conveys the information that the addressee is free to pick whichever card she chooses. Under standard assumptions, the truth conditions of sentences like You can take any card are taken to be captured by formalizations in which a universal quantifier ranging over individuals has wide scope over the possibility modal. The crucial observation that informs the account in this paper is that this type of formalization cannot capture the freedom of choice component. I will argue that in order to derive the right interaction between possibility modals and FC items, we need to add an exclusiveness condition to the standard wide scope paraphrases. The same proposal that guarantees freedom of choice will automatically account for the distribution restrictions of FC items. The formal implementation of this proposal is cast in the Hamblin semantics proposed in Kratzer and Shimoyama (Indeterminate phrases: The view from Japanese, 2002).
Natural Language Semantics 
Publication of Göttingen University
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