Always and Only: Why Not All Focus-Sensitive Operators Are Alike [Book Review]

Natural Language Semantics 11 (4):323-362 (2003)
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We discuss focus sensitivity in English, the phenomenon whereby interpretation of some expressions is affected by placement of intonational focus. We concentrate in particular on the interpretation of always and only, both of which are interpreted as universal quantifiers, and both of which are focus sensitive. Using both naturally occurring and constructed data we explore the interaction of these operators with negative polarity items, with presupposition, with prosodically reduced elements, and with syntactic extraction. On the basis of this data we show that while only lexically encodes a dependency on the placement of focus, always does not. Rather, the focus sensitivity of always results from its dependency on context, and from the fact that focus also reflects what is given in the context. We account for this split using an analysis couched in event semantics



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David Beaver
University of Texas at Austin

References found in this work

Restrictions on Quantifier Domains.Kai von Fintel - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
A theory of focus interpretation.Mats Rooth - 1992 - Natural Language Semantics 1 (1):75-116.
Any.Nirit Kadmon & Fred Landman - 1993 - Linguistics and Philosophy 16 (4):353 - 422.

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