Cumulative readings in focus contexts


  • Aron Hirsch
  • Bernhard Schwarz



Cumulative readings of sentences containing plurals involve universal inferences. Under a classical approach, those inferences are introduced by the predicate which takes the plurals as arguments (e.g. Sternefeld 1998, Beck & Sauerland 2000). Recent work, however, has proposed that plurals are associated with a core existential semantics, and that universal inferences are introduced external to the predication as a grammatical implicature (e.g. Magri 2014, Bar-Lev 2018, 2020, Chatain 2022). We provide new support for the implicature view by establishing that cumulativity patterns like an implicature in the way it interacts with the focus operator only. When only occurs with a scalar term, implicatures are in general observed just in the presupposition, and we show that cumulativity is likewise observed just as presuppositional in only data. While the data follow for free from the implicature analysis, the predicate analysis does not directly predict the observed readings.




How to Cite

Hirsch, A., & Schwarz, B. (2022). Cumulative readings in focus contexts. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 26, 413–431.