Presuppositions in focus
Author(s)Francis, Naomi Clair.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Kai von Fintel, Daniel Fox, and Sabine Iatridou.
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This dissertation explores how presuppositions and focus interact. It takes as its starting point a puzzle about expressions like even and its cross linguistic kin in declarative sentences that deny presuppositions: these focus-sensitive scalar additive operators can be used in negative presupposition denials but not in positive ones. This puzzle reveals that i) presuppositions triggered within focus alternatives matter, and ii) even triggers an additive presupposition. The rest of the thesis considers what these findings can teach us about other areas of the grammar. It presents a variety of arguments in defense of even's additive presupposition, which has long been a point of controversy, and shows that even's additivity helps to make sense of some surprising behaviour that even displays outside of presupposition denials. It also argues that the distribution of even and any in imperatives and modal statements lends support to views that treat imperatives as containing an existential modal operator that is sometimes strengthened by exhaustification to yield universal readings.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 134-140).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy.