[Lingtyp] types of quantification

Jan Rijkhoff linjr at cc.au.dk
Mon Mar 7 08:48:50 UTC 2022

Dear all,

I have been writing about NP-clause parallels (synchronically, diachronically) for a while, in terms of classifying, qualifying, quantifying, localising/anchoring and discourse-referential modification, e.g.
- Rijkhoff, Jan. 2008. Synchronic and diachronic evidence for parallels between noun phrases and sentences. In Folke Josephson and Ingmar Söhrman (eds.), Interdependence of Diachronic and Synchronic Analyses [Studies in Language Companion Series 103], 13-42. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins.
- Rijkhoff, Jan. 2014. Modification as a propositional act. In María de los Ángeles Gómez González, et al. (eds.), Theory and Practice in Functional-Cognitive Space (Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics, 68), 129-150. Amsterdam: Benjamins. https://benjamins.com/catalog/sfsl.68.06rij

The clause has two more 'layers' of modification: one for modal and another for illocutionary distinctions. Freek Van de Velde has argued that these distinctions are also relevant for the analysis of noun phrases:
- Van de Velde, Freek. 2007. Interpersonal modification in the English noun phrase. Functions of Language 14-), 203-230.
- Van de Velde, Freek. 2012. A structural-functional account of NP-internal mood. Lingua 122, 1-23.

If you are interested, I'll be happy to send you the .pdfs of these earlier publications.

Best, J. Rijkhoff - Associate Professor (emeritus), Linguistics
School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 2, Building 1485-621
DK-8000 Aarhus C, DENMARK
Phone: (+45) 87162143
URL: http://pure.au.dk/portal/en/linjr@cc.au.dk

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Christian Lehmann <christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de>
Sent: Sunday, March 6, 2022 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] types of quantification

Thank you for your contributions. Just a few remarks:

The web page recommended by Alexandre Rademaker:


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'. Etc.

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<mailto: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

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


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

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