Indefinites (Linguistic Inquiry Monographs)
Indefinites investigates the relationship between the syntactic and semantic representations of sentences within the framework of generative grammar. It proposes a means of relating government-binding theory, which is primarily syntactic, to the semantic theory of noun phrase interpretation developed by Kamp and Heim, and introduces a novel mapping algorithm that describes the relation between syntactic configurations and logical representations. Diesing focuses on the problem of deriving logical representations from syntactic representations of sentences, with an emphasis on issues of quantification and the interpretation of indefinites. The two central questions addressed are the possible semantic interpretations of indefinites and quantificational noun phrases, and the role played by syntactic representation in deriving the semantic representation of noun phrases. The mapping algorithm used is applied to derive the logical representations of indefinites to a wide range of syntactic and semantic phenomena in German including scrambling, VP-deletion, and extraction from NP.