Optionality, scope, and licensing: An application of partially ordered categories

Raffaella Bernardi, Anna Szabolcsi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper uses a partially ordered set of syntactic categories to accommodate optionality and licensing in natural language syntax. A complex but well-studied data set pertaining to the syntax of quantifier scope and negative polarity licensing in Hungarian is used to illustrate the proposal. The presentation is geared towards both linguists and logicians. The paper highlights that the main ideas can be implemented in different grammar formalisms, and discusses in detail an implementation where the partial ordering on categories is given by the derivability relation of a calculus with residuated and Galois-connected unary operators.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)237-283
    Number of pages47
    JournalJournal of Logic, Language and Information
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 2008


    • Boolean connectives
    • Galois-connection
    • Licensing
    • Natural language syntax
    • Optionality
    • Partial order
    • Polarity items
    • Residuation
    • Scope
    • Typed feature structures

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
    • Philosophy
    • Linguistics and Language


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