Polarity, questions, and the scalar properties of even

This paper discusses the behavior of three lexically distinct Greek expressions which appear to be the counterparts of English even: akomi ke, oute, and esto. The behavior of these three expressions is examined in positive and negative sentences, and it is demonstrated that they all are polarity sensitive. The distributional constraints of the three even-items, crucially, are shown to follow from their distinct scalar associations. In particular, the low-scalar likelihood of positive even (akomi ke) remains problematic with negation as well as affirmation, a fact supporting the polarity approach to even and the lexical ambiguity that is associated with it. In further support of this conclusion, negative bias in questions is shown to arise not with negative polarity oute (which is ungrammatical in questions) or positive akomi ke (which is fine but creates no bias), but with esto— a low scalar item defined on a context-dependent scale. This finding strengthens Kay's 1990 and Horn's 1989 observation that likelihood alone is not sufficient for capturing the scalar properties of even.
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