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The Processing and Acquisition of Reference$
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Edward A. Gibson and Neal J. Pearlmutter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015127

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015127.001.0001

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Complement Focus and Reference Phenomena

Complement Focus and Reference Phenomena

(p.381) 15 Complement Focus and Reference Phenomena
The Processing and Acquisition of Reference

Anthony J. Sanford

Linda M. Moxey

The MIT Press

This chapter presents the results of various experiments that investigated how different determiners and quantifiers make different sets of entities available for reference. It also reviews numerous accounts of a phenomenon known as complement set reference (compset reference) and shows that it is part of a cluster of phenomena related to negative and positive quantifiers. It then considers various attempts to explore the phenomenon in the context of discourse semantics and presents a number of psychological experiments linking the phenomenon to aspects of negativity and denial of a supposition. It shows that negative quantifiers such as few appear to allow reference to a complement set, contrary to Discourse Representation Theory.

Keywords:   determiners, quantifiers, reference, complement set, discourse semantics, negativity, denial, Discourse Representation Theory

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