What Counts: Focus and Quantification (Linguistic Inquiry by Elena Herburger

By Elena Herburger

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In the case of (1) the structured Davidsonian decomposition in (11) will give us the translations that are shown in (12). ) (1) a. ROSALIA wrote a poem. b. RosalõÂa wrote A POEM. (12) a. [˜e: C(e) & Write(e) & Past(e) & [a x: Poem(x)] Theme(e,x)] Agent(e,rosalõÂa) & Write(e) & Past(e) & [a x: Poem(x)] Theme(e,x) b. [˜e: C(e) & Agent(e,rosalõÂa) & Write(e) & Past(e)] [a x: Poem(x)] Theme(e,x) & Agent(e,rosalõÂa) & Write(e) & Past(e) The interpretation of (1a) that is represented in (12a) states that some relevant event of writing a poem in the past was such that it was a past event of writing a poem and its agent was RosalõÂa, which amounts to saying that some relevant past event of poem writing had RosalõÂa as its agent.

61) Paul sometime ordered SALMON. (62) a.

Adapting ideas from Stalnaker (1979) to our purposes, we can say that in a felicitous discourse backgrounded focal entailments are entailed either by what was said earlier or by the Common Ground; or if they are entailed by neither of these, they are such that they can be accommodated without much trouble; if (1a) is used in a context where we know that no poem was written, this discourse felicity is clearly not met. Negated and Nonnegated Sentences 21 Apart from the truth-value di¨erence, a presuppositional analysis of (1a) and the present analysis di¨er in that on the former the nonfocused part expresses that someone wrote a poem.

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