What’s included in the set of alternatives? Psycholinguistic evidence for a permissive view

  • Nicole Gotzner

Abstract

According to a standard permissive view, the set of alternatives consists of various possible replacements of a focused expression (Rooth 1985, 1992). On the other hand, a more restrictive view assumes that certain alternatives are excluded from consideration such as elements which do not form a partition (e.g., Wagner 2006, 2012). I will try to adjudicate between these two theories by looking at the question which elements listeners consider as part of the alternative set. The data presented here suggest that listeners consider a broad set of possible replacements of a focused expression even when a set of particular elements is enumerated contextually. Therefore, the data are most in line with a permissive view of alternative sets such as the one proposed by Rooth (1985, 1992). Albeit, listeners do not consider the entire focus semantic value but rather a partially-restricted set – an intermediate set between the focus semantic value and the actual/relevant set of alternatives.According to a standard permissive view, the set of alternatives consists of variouspossible replacements of a focused expression (Rooth 1985, 1992). On the other hand, a morerestrictive view assumes that certain alternatives are excluded from consideration such aselements which do not form a partition (e.g., Wagner 2006, 2012). I will try to adjudicatebetween these two theories by looking at the question which elements listeners consider as partof the alternative set. The data presented here suggest that listeners consider a broad set ofpossible replacements of a focused expression even when a set of particular elements isenumerated contextually. Therefore, the data are most in line with a permissive view ofalternative sets such as the one proposed by Rooth (1985, 1992). Albeit, listeners do not considerthe entire focus semantic value but rather a partially-restricted set – an intermediate set betweenthe focus semantic value and the actual/relevant set of alternatives.
Published
2019-11-08
How to Cite
Gotzner, N. (2019). What’s included in the set of alternatives? Psycholinguistic evidence for a permissive view. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 19, 252-267. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2015.v19i0.232