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Issues in the study of floating universal numeric quantifiers

Robert Cirillo1

1University of Amsterdam

Correspondence address: Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam, Spuistraat 210, 1012 VT Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail:

Citation Information: Linguistics. Volume 48, Issue 3, Pages 573–601, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: 10.1515/ling.2010.018, June 2010

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Published Online:


In the Germanic and Romance languages (among others) a universal quantifier can combine with a numeral and form a floating quantifier. I refer to these quantifiers as universal numeric quantifiers or simply ∀NumQ. The following examples from Dutch and Romanian demonstrate this phenomenon:

  • Dutch

    • (i)

      a. Alle drie de studenten hebben het boek gelezen.

      all three the students have the book read

      b. De studenten hebben alle drie het boek gelezen.

      the students have all three the book read

  • Romanian

    • (ii)

      a. Toţi trei studenţi-i au citit carte-a.

      all three students the have read book the

      b. Studenţi-i au citit toţi trei carte-a.

      students the have read all three book the

The aim of this article is to show three things: that a ∀NumQ occupies the same position as a bare universal quantifier, namely, the head position of a Quantifier Phrase; that a ∀NumQ must be base-generated in Q° in its entirety and cannot be derived by moving a numeral from a position inside DP up to Q°; that the derivation or rather creation of a ∀NumQ can easily be understood if one combines aspects of the theory of word formation in Di Sciullo and Williams (On the definition of word, MIT Press, 1987) with the theory of the morphology of numerals in Booij (The construction of Dutch numerals, University of Leiden, 2008).

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