Equatives and Maximality

In Daniel Altshuler & Jessica Rett (eds.), The Semantics of Plurals, Focus, Degrees, and Times: Essays in Honor of Roger Schwarzschild. Springer Verlag. pp. 163-184 (2019)
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Abstract

There is one salient difference between equative constructions like John drove as fast as Mary did in English and Slovenian: while the former do not allow a downward-entailing operator to occur in the standard clause and c-command the degree argument that is abstracted over, the latter do. This holds, however, only if the equative occurs without a multiplicative degree modifier. We show how these facts can be captured on relatively simple assumptions about the make-up of equative constructions. Building on the insights of von Stechow and Rullmann about the distribution of downward-entailing operators in degree constructions, we argue that the behavior of equatives in Slovenian provides new support for the following two conclusions: that maximality, although a component of equatives, is separable from the other ingredients of the construction and that degree domains are always dense.

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