Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 21, 2008

The semantics of Spanish plural existential determiners and the dynamics of judgment types

Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach
From the journal


In this paper, a semantic analysis of several contrasting properties between the Spanish plural existential determiners unos ‘a-pl.’ and algunos ‘some-pl.’ is presented within the framework of Discourse Representation Theory (DRT). Some of these properties can be directly related to the distinction between the thetic and the categorical judgment, as understood by Kuroda and Ladusaw. Others, related to plurality and the interaction of quantifiers, provide evidence for an extension of the scope of the distinction and its implementation as a procedural semantic difference. It will be argued that the determiner unos contributes a group discourse referent to a Discourse Representation Structure (DRS). This discourse referent is subject to a no linking constraint, and does not trigger box-splitting of the DRS. This forms the basis for the claim that this plural determiner participates only in thetic judgments. On the other hand, the determiner algunos is not subject to a no linking constraint and may contribute a duplex condition to the DRS. Thus, it can participate in categorical judgments. This type of judgment corresponds to a set of construction rules which yields an updated DRS in which a new discourse referent has been introduced and, in contrast to the thetic judgment, a linking condition and a duplex condition are introduced. The analysis is extended to account for the effects of contrastive focus and scopal interactions with other operators in the semantics of Spanish existential determiners.

Published Online: 2008-02-21
Published in Print: 2001-03-16

© Walter de Gruyter