HOW DOES FOCUS AFFECT LOGICAL FORM?
Proceedings of IATL 19
Many people say, by way of a slogan, "Focus goes to the
nuclear scope, background goes to the restrictor." But what does this
One possibility is that non-focused elements are moved
from the nuclear scope into the restrictor. A different view is that the
nuclear scope contains the entire sentence (without the Q-adverb), and does
not lose any material. Its effect on interpretation is to provide a set of
alternatives whose union is accommodated into the restrictor.
It is not often realized, but the two views are quite significantly different.
Choosing one or the other has empirical as well as theoretical consequences.
The first view is unappealing, in that it suffers from a theoretical problem
- it implies that focus has two, unrelated roles: introducing alternatives
and causing movement. The second view, however, suffers from an empirical
problem: it implies that quantificational adverbs are conservative, but it
turns out that there are non-conservative readings of some quantificational
In this paper I argue for the second view, by demonstrating
how these non-conservative readings can be accommodated into its framework.
I propose that, while under the usual, conservative reading, the quantificational
adverb associates with focus, under the non-conservative reading it also
associates with a B-accented element (so called "contrastive topic").
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