How Does Focus Affect Logical Form

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Abstract

It is well known that focus can affect the truth conditions of some sentences— in this paper I will concentrate on adverbs of quantification (henceforth Q-adverbs). Hence, focus somehow affects logical form.1 People often say, almost by way of a slogan, “Focus goes to the nuclear scope, background goes to the restrictor. ” But what does this mean, exactly? To illustrate the problem, consider (1). (1) A dog is usually [intelligent]F. Rooth (1995) identifies two possibilities for its logical form. One possibility is that focus determines which elements in the sentence are mapped onto the nuclear scope, and which—onto the restrictor. Consider a typical implementation of this view (Chierchia 1995)). At some level of repre-sentation, the nuclear scope contains the entire sentence (minus the Q-adverb). Then, non-focused material moves out of the nuclear scope into the restrictor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th Annual Meeting of the IATL
StatePublished - 2003

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