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The interpretation and distribution of temporal focus particles

Neeleman, A; van de Koot, H; (2022) The interpretation and distribution of temporal focus particles. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 10.1007/s11049-021-09526-x. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Among the scalar usages of only, there is one that has a temporal dimension. In Carla understood the problem only on Sunday, for instance, Sunday is considered late for Carla to have understood the problem. In this paper, we explore the interpretation and distribution of temporal only along with other focus particles that permit a temporal reading. We focus on the Dutch counterpart of temporal only, pas (see Barbiers 1995). This particle is formally distinct from both exclusive only (alleen) and non-temporal scalar only (maar). We concentrate on two core issues. The first concerns the observation that temporal focus particles systematically support two modes of interpretation, a purely temporal one and a lack-of-progress reading. The latter is found in an example like Billy has only read three books (so far), which implies that three is a low number of books for Billy to have read at the reference time. The second issue concerns ‘Barbiers’s Generalization,’ the requirement that temporal focus particles immediately c-command the category they interact with. We propose a semantic analysis that captures these observations, building on previous work by König (1979, 1981), Löbner (1989), Krifka (2000) and Klinedinst (2004), among others.

Type: Article
Title: The interpretation and distribution of temporal focus particles
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11049-021-09526-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-021-09526-x
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Focus particles, Scalarity, Temporal only, Locality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10132247
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