Relativized Exhaustivity: Mention-Some and Uniqueness
Yimei Xiang
August 2020

Questions with an existential modal admit both mention-some (MS) and mention-all (MA) answers. Taking insights from Fox 2013, I argue that MS and MA answers are complete answers derived from the same answerhood, and that the MS/MA-ambiguity comes from structural variations within the question nucleus. However, allowing MS to be complete conflicts with Dayal's (1996) analysis of uniqueness effects, which derives uniqueness from a presupposition that requires the existence of the strongest true answer. I argue that this dilemma can be solved if exhaustivity is evaluated relative to a subset of the accessible worlds and propose that question interpretations presuppose `Relativized Exhaustivity'. This presupposition preserves the merits of Dayal's presupposition, and moreover, it is advantageous in deriving local uniqueness effects in questions with an existential/universal modal.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005322
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted (Comments welcome!)
keywords: questions, answers, mention-some, uniqueness, exhaustivity, exclusivity, free choice, modal, modal obviation, higher-order readings, semantics
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