The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 10/18 - Alexander Wimmer (Universität Tübingen)

Speaker: Alexander Wimmer (Universität Tübingen)
Title: Outscoping exclusion
Date and time: Wednesday October 18, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

The Chinese focus particle jiù is known to have both exclusive and nonexclusive readings, and to carry an evaluative component of easiness (Hole 2004, Liu 2016). I follow Liu (2016) in assuming that jiù has an exclusive assertion and a scalar presupposition according to which the prejacent ranks lowest on a scale of alternatives.

My first aim is to support this presupposition, and to check whether it should be supplemented by the truth of jiù’s prejacent.

I then want to consider the option of getting the nonexclusive reading by having a covert existential modal take scope above jiù at Logical Form, reducing the particle’s exclusiveness to a mere possibility. This option is inspired by a passage in Beck & Rullmann (1999), who decompose sufficiency into the components POSSIBLE and ONLY.