Hebrew kol: a universal quantifier as an undercover existential


  • Moshe E. Bar-Lev
  • Daniel Margulis


Constructions containing the Hebrew determiner kol have a prominent interpretation as involving universal quantification. In light of this, it has traditionally and almost unarguably been considered to be truth-conditionally a universal quantifier. The goal of this paper is to argue that contrary to the widely accepted analysis, kol is an existential quantifier and that the universal import of constructions containing kol results from grammatical strengthening. Such an argument is backed by kol’s interpretation in Downward-Entailing environments, its behavior as a Free Choice item and more importantly, its indefinite interpretation in interrogatives. The proposal is carried out using a mechanism of exhaustification and the assumption that kol is special among existential quantifiers in lacking a scalar (i.e., universal) alternative.


How to Cite

Bar-Lev, M. E., & Margulis, D. (2019). Hebrew kol: a universal quantifier as an undercover existential. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 60–76. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/304