Edited by Ana Aguilar-Guevara, Bert Le Bruyn and Joost Zwarts
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 219] 2014
► pp. 17–44
Modal inferences in marked indefinites
the case of German irgend-indefinites
In this paper, we first present the results of a synchronic corpus study of the determiner irgendein and the pronoun irgend jemand in German and identify four main uses: ignorance effect in specific uses (spU), ignorance effect under epistemic modals (epiU), narrow-scope existential meaning in �negative� contexts (NPu), free choice effect under deontic modals (deoFC). Then we sketch a formal account in the framework of a Dynamic Semantics with Conceptual Covers along the lines of Aloni and Port (2011) and Aloni (2012). This enables us (i) to derive the obligatory ignorance effect irgend-indefinites induce in specific uses and under epistemic modals, (ii) to account for the NPu and deoFC uses, and (iii) to explain the different behavior of the indefinite under different modals.