Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 91–134 | Cite as

Explaining Crossover and Superiority as Left-to-right Evaluation

  • Chung-Chieh Shan
  • Chris Barker


We present a general theory of scope and binding in which both crossover and superiority violations are ruled out by one key assumption: that natural language expressions are normally evaluated (processed) from left to right. Our theory is an extension of Shan’s (2002) account of multiple-wh questions, combining continuations (Barker, 2002) and dynamic type-shifting. Like other continuation-based analyses, but unlike most other treatments of crossover or superiority, our analysis is directly compositional (in the sense of, e.g., Jacobson, 1999). In particular, it does not postulate a level of Logical Form or any other representation distinct from surface syntax. One advantage of using continuations is that they are the standard tool for modeling order-of-evaluation in programming languages. This provides us with a natural and independently motivated characterization of what it means to evaluate expressions from left to right. We give a combinatory categorial grammar that models the syntax and the semantics of quantifier scope and wh-question formation. It allows quantificational binding but not crossover, in-situ wh but not superiority violations. In addition, the analysis automatically accounts for a variety of sentence types involving binding in the presence of pied piping, including reconstruction cases such as Whose criticism of his i mother did each person i resent?


Natural Language General Theory Programming Language Computational Linguistic Standard Tool 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Center for Cognitive ScienceRutgers, the State University of New JerseyPiscatawayUSA
  2. 2.0108 Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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