Specificational subjects are individual concepts
Karlos Arregi, Itamar Francez, Martina Martinović
September 2020

Higgins (1973) famously distinguishes between predicational and specificational interpretations of copular sentences. Since then, the literature has debated whether specificational interpretations exist and, if so, what they are. This paper contributes to this debate by providing three new arguments for recognizing specificational interpretations, and against the view, prevalent in the syntactic literature, that sentences with allegedly specificational readings actually involve predicational readings and a structure of predicate inversion. Our arguments support Romero’s (2005) analysis of specificational readings as involving individual concepts. Our discussion also demonstrates that the question of the semantics of specification is entirely independent of the question of whether the syntax of specification involves inversion or not.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003996
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
keywords: copular sentences, predication, inversion, individual concepts, specificational clauses, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v4 [August 2020]
v3 [November 2019]
v2 [November 2019]
v1 [May 2018]
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