An incremental dynamic semantics for quantification and dependent plural pronouns

Rick Nouwen

The successful account of plural reference phenomena put forward in the discourse representation theory of Kamp and Reyle 1993 gave rise to a number of attempts at formulating non-representational alternatives. Three of these stand out: Elworthy 1995, van den Berg 1996 and Krifka 1996.
These approaches usually focus on a weak-point of the DRT analysis, namely the treatment of dependent pronouns like `it' in (i). Moreover, they typically differ from classic dynamic semantics in assuming that a context is a structured medium which is able to store relations between the atoms or the subgroups of two pluralities, thus accounting for examples such as (i).

(i) Three students each wrote a paper. They each submitted it to L&P.

In this talk, I will focus on two issues related to dependency phenomena in discourse. First, we consider the role of distributivity in dependencies and argue that the only true dependencies are due to distributive interpretation (contra Elworthy 1995). Second, in pursuing a uniform interpretation for all pronouns, including dependent ones, I argue that a variable free semantics is called for. I will present a reformulation of van den Berg's work within van Eijck's (2001) framework of incremental dynamics. Time permitting, I will show how this generalises to a semantics of distributive determiners.