Explaining leftward focus association with "even" but not "only"

  • Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine

Abstract

The ability of English VP-even but not VP-only to associate with a leftward subject (Jackendoff, 1972) has been a long-standing puzzle for the theory of focus association, and runs counter to the generalization that focus-sensitive operators associate with a focused constituent in their scope. Here I argue that such backwards association is illusory. In cases of apparent leftward subject association, even is associating with the subject’s predicate-internal lower copy of movement, which is within the scope of even. The same configuration with only yields an uninterpretable structure, due to independent differences in the semantic contribution of even and only. I then show that this pattern of association extends to other cases of movement as well: in general, even but not only is able to associate with material which has moved out of the operator’s scope. Patterns of leftward focus association present a new argument against the scope theory of even.
How to Cite
Erlewine, M. Y. (1). Explaining leftward focus association with "even" but not "only". Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 128-145. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/308