David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The main focus of this article is the occurrence of some polarity items (PIs) in the complements of emotive factive verbs and only. This fact has been taken as a challenge to the semantic approach to PIs (Linebarger 1980), because only and factive verbs are not downward entailing (DE). A modification of the classical DE account is proposed by introducing the notion of nonveridicality (Zwarts 1995, Giannakidou 1998, 1999, 2001) as the one crucial for PI sanctioning. To motivate this move, it is first shown that two solutions in the direction of weakening classical monotonicity do not work: Strawson DE (von Fintel 1999) and weak DE (Hoeksema 1986). Weakening DE systematically either overgenerates or undergenerates, in either case failing to characterize the correct set of licensers. Nonveridicality is introduced as a conservative extension of DE and is shown to account for PIs also in contexts that are not DE (i.e. questions, modal verbs, imperatives, directive propositional attitudes). This theory, augmented with the premise that certain PIs (i.e. the liberal class represented by any) are subject to a weaker polarity dependency identified not as LICENSING but as RESCUING by nonveridicality, explains the occurrence of this particular class with only and emotive factive verbs. Crosslinguistic comparisons illustrate that the occurrence of PIs with only and emotive factives is not a general phenomenon, and further support the dual nature of polarity dependency and the semantic characterization of the elements that license or rescue PIs.
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