October 1: Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam) – Leiden

We are happy to announce that on Wednesday, October 1, Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam) will give a LUSH talk in Leiden. We hope to see you all there!

After the talk we would like to go out for drinks with Malte. If you want to join, please send an email to lena.karvovskaya@gmail.com, so that we can reserve a big enough table :)

Date: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time: 15:30 – 17:00

Location: Leiden, Arsenaal – 112

Speaker: Malte Zimmermann

Title: Scalar Particles as Alternative-Sensitive Expressions

Abstract: In this talk, I propose an analysis of scalar particles (‘even’) as alternative-sensitive expressions: such expressions can associate not only with FOC(us)-alternatives, but also with C(ontrastive)T(opic)-alternatives, when present. I start off by pointing out some differences between exclusive (‘only’) and scalar(-additive) particles, which raise problems for the classical restrictive view of scalar and additive particles as run-off-the-mill focus-sensitive expressions (Jackendoff 1972, Jacobs 1983, Rooth 1985, Beaver & Clark 2008). Next, I present a case study of adverbial ‘even’ in English, which shows that the semantic interpretation of this particle is sensitive to both FOC- and CT-information, albeit in different ways. I also show how the less restricted semantic behavior of alternative-sensitive ‘even’ can be accounted for by generalizing the analysis of FOC-‘even’ in Kay (1990). I then present additional empirical evidence from a variety of non-Indoeuropean languages, including Bura (Central Chadic), Ngamo (West Chadic), Nłeʔkepmxcin (Salish), and Vietnamese, which supports the claim that the semantic association behavior of scalar(-additives) expressions differs from that of exclusives. I conclude with a discussion of some implications of my findings for Wagner’s (2012) recent re-analysis of CTs as indicating a sequence of hierarchically stacked focus operators.

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