Floating Quantifiers are Autonomous Phrases: A Movement Account
Eman Al-Khalaf
August 2019

Q-float is a phenomenon in which a quantifier is separated from the nominal it associates with (The cookies will all have been eaten up by then!). The phenomenon has received two major analyses: stranding and adjunction. The stranding analysis argues that the associate moves leftward out of a complex constituent that contains both it and the floating quantifier. The adjunction analysis considers floating quantifiers to be adverbial adjuncts. This paper investigates Q-float in Arabic and shows that neither of the existing accounts perfectly captures the facts. Adopting Ott’s (2012; 2015) analysis of split topics and Q-float in German, the paper proposes that in Arabic, a floating quantifier and its associate are merged together in a particular syntactic position as a set of autonomous phrases; the associate moves out of the set to allow the set to be labeled and integrated in the structure. It will be shown that this labeling analysis captures many of the peculiarities of Q-float, among which are two apparently conflicting facts: the locality restrictions on floating quantifiers and, in many cases, the impossibility for the floating quantifier and the associate to have formed a continuous constituent at any stage of the derivation. The facts and analysis presented contribute to the debate on whether floating quantifiers mark the positions of lower copies of displaced nominals (NP traces in pre-minimalist terms), providing an argument that, at least for Arabic, the answer is ‘yes’. It also provides additional support for the labeling framework that emerged from Chomsky (2013) and related work.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004145
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Al Khalaf, E. (2019). Floating quantifiers are autonomous phrases: A movement analysis. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1), 89. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.848
keywords: quantifier float, movement, symmetric merge, labeling, construct state, arabic
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