[Lingtyp] types of quantification

Christian Lehmann christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de
Sun Mar 6 10:47:13 UTC 2022

Thank you for your contributions. Just a few remarks:

The web page recommended by Alexandre Rademaker:

> https://github.com/UniversalDependencies/docs/issues/786

is indeed interesting. Although confined to English, it shows that most 
of the items one might consider subsuming under 'quantifier' differ in 
their distribution; i.o.w., there are almost as many distribution 
classes as "quantifiers". Such a result of a distributional analysis 
probably depends on the amount and variety of data that can be obtained 
for a language. If you invest a limited amount of energy into the 
description of a (minority) language, you probably get fewer 
distribution classes.

In Cabecar (as in several other languages I am aware of), indefinite 
proforms are derived from interrogative proforms by some morphological 
or phonological modification. This produces words meaning 'someone, 
something, somehow, ...'. Such forms usually differ from quantifiers 
s.s. like 'all' and 'many' already in their morphology, and also often 
in their distribution. In Cabecar, too, some indefinite proforms (like 
'somewhich') may be used as determiners, while quantifiers s.s. have the 
distribution of adjectives.

It should also be clear that there is, in linguistic structure, no 
simple relation between the word class of the quantifying element and 
the category of the entity being quantified. In some languages, 'many', 
'several' etc. are verbs. In SAE languages, quantification relating to a 
nominal expression (e.g. in subject position) may be coded by adverbial 
expressions like /unanimously/ or German /mehrheitlich/ 'by a majority'. 

This being said, I confirm that Martin understood my concern: to 
reasonably structure (in terms of linguistic semantics) a (functionally 
based!) chapter on quantification. Among the many useful hints I 
obtained from the discussion, one continues to vex me: It is true that 
'times' may be quantified (e.g. in English /sometimes/) similarly to 
things and persons. Does this mean that there is a unified _linguistic_ 
concept of quantification which includes events/situations (whichever 
you prefer)? Some of us subsume notions like 'intensification', 
'attenuation', 'partial completion' etc. under quantification. Are there 
arguments from linguistic structure to conclude that this is 
quantification (of some kind of entity) in the same sense as /some of 
her children became professors/ involves quantification (in the 
descriptive tradition of the last two and a half millennia )?

> On Fri, 4 Mar 2022 at 08:35 Christian Lehmann 
> <christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de> wrote:
>     In some languages, numerals have the same distribution as
>     quantifiers like 'some' or 'many'. From a functional point of
>     view, too, for instance in view of the approximative numerals
>     discussed last week, it makes sense to subsume the use of numerals
>     under quantification. Then one might subdivide the field of
>     quantification roughly as follows:
>      1. Numeral quantification: 'one', 'two' ...
>      2. Non-numeral quantification
>          1. Universal: 'all', 'every'
>          2. Existential: 'some'
>          3. Sizing: 'many', 'several', '(a) few', ....
>     Two questions:
>       * Has anything concerning such a classification been published
>         which I should know?
>       * To the extent that the above is reasonable: Any suggestions
>         for a better terminology?
>     -- 
>     Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
>     Rudolfstr. 4
>     99092 Erfurt
>     Deutschland
>     Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
>     E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
>     Web: 	https://www.christianlehmann.eu
>     _______________________________________________
>     Lingtyp mailing list
>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
> -- 
> Alexandre Rademaker
> http://arademaker.github.com/
> http://researcher.ibm.com/person/br-alexrad

Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
Web: 	https://www.christianlehmann.eu
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