Subclausal local contexts

Journal article

Anvari, Amir and Blumberg, Kyle. (2021). Subclausal local contexts. Journal of Semantics. 38(3), pp. 393-414.
AuthorsAnvari, Amir and Blumberg, Kyle

One of the central topics in semantic theory over the last few decades concerns the nature of local contexts. Recently, theorists have tried to develop general, non-stipulative accounts of local contexts (Ingason, 2016; Mandelkern & Romoli, 2017a; Schlenker, 2009). In this paper, we contribute to this literature by drawing attention to the local contexts of subclausal expressions. More specifically, we focus on the local contexts of quantificational determiners, e.g. ‘all’, ‘both’, etc. Our central tool for probing the local contexts of subclausal elements is the principle Maximize Presupposition! (Percus, 2006; Singh, 2011). The empirical basis of our investigation concerns some data discussed by Anvari (2018b), e.g. the fact that sentences such as ‘All of the two presidential candidates are crooked’ are unacceptable. In order to explain this, we suggest that the local context of determiners needs to contain the information carried by their restrictor. However, no existing non-stipulative account predicts this. Consequently, we think that the local contexts of subclausal expressions will likely have to be stipulated. This result has important consequences for debates in semantics and pragmatics, e.g. those around the so-called “explanatory problem” for dynamic semantics (Heim, 1990; Schlenker, 2009; Soames, 1982).

JournalJournal of Semantics
Journal citation38 (3), pp. 393-414
PublisherOxford University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range393-414
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted27 Apr 2021
Deposited24 Oct 2021
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