Universal quantification as degree modification in Arabic

Abstract

This paper demonstrates similarities between the universal quantifier kull ‘every/all’ and superlatives of quality and quantity in Standard Arabic. These similarities point to an analysis of kull as a kind of superlative. An analysis is developed that characterizes the meaning of kull as a minor variation on the meaning of the superlative morpheme that occurs in quality and quantity superlatives. The difference between kull’s strongly distributive meaning analogous to every and its weakly distributive meaning analogous to all is argued to be the result of a type-shifting mechanism. This analysis teases apart the syntactic and semantic components of the three construction types examined here and identifies the uniformity that runs through them.

Keywords

superlative, quantification, Arabic, degree, plurals

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Hallman, P., (2016) “Universal quantification as degree modification in Arabic”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 1(1): 26. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.131

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Peter Hallman (University of Vienna)

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