Aspectual effects on donkey anaphora

Donkey sentences exhibit universal (exhaustive) and existential (non-exhaustive) readings for the indefinites involved and the pronouns anaphoric to them. In this paper, we investigate the role of non-lexical aspect in determining which of the two readings will be available with respect to a given discourse. We show that in languages which clearly mark perfective and imperfective aspect in the verb -- as Greek, Catalan, and Bulgarian do -- existential readings can arise only with perfective aspect. Focussing on Greek, we adopt an E-type analysis for donkey pronouns as functions from (contextually salient) sets of individuals to individuals, and treat the existential interpretation in sentences with perfective aspect as the default contribution of indefinites. The universal readings are the result of imperfective aspect introducing quantification over situations. We conclude with a brief extension of the analysis to lexical statives.

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