Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka, 2017.
“Quantifying over alternatives with Toba Batak manang.”
Presented at AFLA 24, TripleA 4.
I report on the use and distribution of manang in Toba Batak, an Austronesian language of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Manang is used to form logical disjunctions, alternative questions, wh-Negative Polarity Items (NPIs), and wh-Free Choice Items (FCIs), and also appears optionally on embedded questions. It does not, however, form simple wh-indefinites.
I propose that manang is the spellout of maximally two logical operators: J, which collects the ordinary semantic values of disjuncts into a set of alternatives, and ∃, which creates an existential quantifier from a set of alternatives. Using a two-dimensional Alternative Semantics (Rooth 1985, 1992), I derive the different disjunctive and wh-quantifying uses of manang and various constraints on their interpretation. I additionally report on the use of manang in embedded questions.