Approximating the limit: the interaction between quasi 'almost' and some temporal connectives in Italian [Book Review]

Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (2):51-115 (2010)
This paper focuses on the interpretation of the Italian approximative adverb quasi ‘almost’ by primarily looking at cases in which it modifies temporal connectives, a domain which, to our knowledge, has been largely unexplored thus far. Consideration of this domain supports the need for a scalar account of the semantics of quasi (close in spirit to Hitzeman’s semantic analysis of almost, in: Canakis et al. (eds) Papers from the 28th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, 1992). When paired with suitable analyses of temporal connectives, such an account can provide a simple explanation of the patterns of implication that are observed when quasi modifies locational (e.g. quando ‘when’), directional (e.g. fino ‘until’ and da ‘since’), and event-sequencing temporal connectives (e.g. prima ‘before’ and dopo ‘after’). A challenging empirical phenomenon that is observed is a contrast between the modification of fino and da by quasi, on the one hand, and the modification of prima and dopo by the same adverb, on the other. While quasi fino and quasi da behave symmetrically, a puzzling asymmetry is observed between quasi prima and quasi dopo. To explain the asymmetry, we propose an analysis of prima and dopo on which the former has the meaning of the temporal comparative più presto ‘earlier’, while the latter is seen as an atomic predicate denoting temporal succession between events (Del Prete, Nat Lang Semantics 16:157–203, 2008). We show that the same pattern of implication observed for quasi prima is attested when quasi modifies overt comparatives, and propose a pragmatic analysis of this pattern that uniformly applies to both cases, thus providing new evidence for the claim that prima is underlyingly a comparative. A major point of this paper is a discussion of the notion of scale which is relevant for the semantics of quasi; in particular, we show that the notion of Horn (entailment-based) scale is not well-suited for handling modification of temporal connectives, and that a more general notion of scale is required in order to provide a uniform analysis of quasi as a cross-categorial modifier
Keywords Approximative adverbs  Scalar adverbs  Temporal connectives  Focus semantics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10988-010-9075-0
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David Lewis (1979). Scorekeeping in a Language Game. Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
Mats Rooth (1992). A Theory of Focus Interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1 (1):75-116.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Thomas Mormann (2009). New Work for Carnap's Quasi-Analysis. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (3):249-282.
Gregory E. Ganssle, God and Time. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.
Mark Textor (2001). 'Portraying' a Proposition. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):137-161.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

97 ( #32,845 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

66 ( #18,937 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.