The determination of quantifier scope

In determining the scope interpretations of quantifiers, linguists follow the view that the one which is “leftmost” in the surface structure is interpreted to have the highest scope. Many linguists have posited left-right order as the determining factor in assigning scope because they have built their theories upon data solely from English and because English normally utilizes the sentence-initial position to convey important information. However, Georgette Ioup (1975) puts forth the hypothesis that order has little to do with the determination of quantifier scope. She points out that two major factors interact to determine which quantifier has the highest scope within a clause: (1) the inherent characteristics of the individual quantifier, and (2) its grammatical function within the clause. Ioup’s view and hypothesis on quantifier scope is first summarized, then applied to Asian languages to examine its plausibility. Kuno’s hypothesis (1973) for Japanese quantifiers is next considered. The latter half of the present study focuses on the two major factors: (1) the individual quantifier, and (2) its grammatical function. It begins with a discussion of how the individual quantifier and its grammatical function determine the quantifier scope, including an attempt to diagram the degree of difference between each of the quantifiers and each of the grammatical functions based upon data from the Asian languages. This is followed by a short section which considers other elements which determine the scope of quantifiers, i.e., adverbs and verbs. The last two sections are a further analysis of grammatical functions. What properties a grammatical function has and how they are related to the scope of quantifiers are first discussed. Then Ioup’s scope hierarchy of grammatical functions is compared with Keenan’s Relational Hierarchy. Finally, a revised scope hierarchy of grammatical functions follows.