An experimental note on distributivity and scope

Manuel Kri┼ż
Mora Maldonado

Full paper in pdf
BibTex Reference

Experimental data are frequently used in formal semantics when intuitions about the existence of readings are shaky, and they can even help us to discover readings that go unnoticed by simple introspection (Marty et al, 2014). We report an experiment that tested the existence of distributive readings with plural noun phrases in object position (e.g. `A mouse is painting all the penguins'), which has been the subject of some disagreement in the literature (Steedman, 2012). Our findings indicate that these readings do, indeed, exist, and we will suggest that their comparative marginality can be explained without recourse to a ban on inserting the distributivity operator in derived scope positions.

Keywords: plurals, distributivity, scope, ambiguity, acceptability