Sentences like Mary needs to make the fewest mistakes on the upcoming test have a ‘split scope’ reading roughly paraphrasable as ‘Mary exceeds all others in terms of how many mistakes she must not make’; that is, her situation is the most precarious. The structural approach to this phenomenon attributes to such sentences a logical form resembling this paraphrase, in which the superlative component of the meaning of fewest scopes above the modal need to and the negative component scopes below it. Peter Hallman's paper investigates analogous structures in Syrian Arabic, a language in which superlatives may appear at a distance from their scalar associates in the surface order.
Natural Language Semantics is a journal devoted to semantics and its interfaces in grammar, especially syntax. It is published by Springer and edited by Amy Rose Deal.