Weak NP's in HAVE Sentences

Barbara H. Partee

Department of Linguistics
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-7130


Landman and Partee (1987) offer a compositional account of existential have-sentences with relational post-have NP's like those in (1), in which the same definiteness restriction holds as in existential there-sentences.
a. John has a sister/ at most three sisters/ *every sister/ *most sisters.
b. Most happy people have many friends and few enemies.
The solution, due to Landman, is to analyze `a sister' as
lambda P lambda y[exists x[sister-of'(y)(x) & P(x)]],
and 'have' as
lambda R[R(lambda z[z = z])],
R of type <<e,t>,<e,t>.
We show how this solution accounts for the data and relates existential have-sentences to existential there-sentences. The predicate lambdaz[z = z] is derived as an existentially quantified missing coda. Motivation for the type of the post-have NP is sought by comparing this analysis to Szabolcsi's analysis of Hungarian existential have-sentences.

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