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

Natural Language Semantics 11 (4):323-362 (2003)

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
Keywords language   semantics-focus   semantics-context
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DOI 10.1023/A:1025542629721
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Economy and Embedded Exhaustification.Danny Fox & Benjamin Spector - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (1):1-50.
Intervention Effects Follow From Focus Interpretation.Sigrid Beck - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (1):1-56.

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