Directional Entailingness (ch 2)

Directional entailingness is a feature of determiners. Entailment is a relation among statements; one statement entails another if the second has to be true given the first is true. Determiners are either downward entailing or upward entailing. Downward concerns the movement from less specific to more specific. Upward concerns the movement from more specific to less specific.

For example, 'every woman is bipedal' is a valid inference from 'every human is bipedal.' This means that 'every' is downward entailing with regard to the noun phrase of which it is a part. 'Every' is upward entailing in its VP. Given 'Every woman loves spinach,' it follows that every woman loves a green vegetable. By contrast, the determiner 'some' is upward entailing in both noun phrase and verb phrase: 'Some shapes are four-sided' is a valid inference from 'some shapes are squares' and 'some objects are round' is a valid inference from 'some coins are round.'


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