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Logic in GrammarPolarity, Free Choice, and Intervention$
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Gennaro Chierchia

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697977.001.0001

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Presuppositionality, Strength, and Concord in Polarity Systems

Presuppositionality, Strength, and Concord in Polarity Systems

(p.191) 4 Presuppositionality, Strength, and Concord in Polarity Systems
Logic in Grammar

Gennaro Chierchia

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 discusses presuppositionality, concord and (in a preliminary way) intervention phenomena as they relate to polarity. It has been noticed in the literature that some NPI licensing environments (overt only, or verbs like surprise) are DE only in a weak way (‘Strawson-DE’). However, adopting Strawson-DE as a licensing condition gives rise to several empirical and conceptual problems. It is argued that such problems can be overcome by splitting each clause in an assertive and a presuppositional component (á la Karttunen and Peters) under the assumption that exhaustification for weak NPIs only looks at the assertive component. This paves the way for an exhaustification based approach to strong NPIs: the latter are characterized by the fact that all components of their meaning (assertive, presuppositional and implicational) must be factored in (by the exhaustification process). This idea explains directly why strong NPIs can only be licensed by strongest members of negative scales (e.g. by no but not by few or less than n). Finally concord phenomena and N-words are analyzed as an overt syntactic realization of exhaustification. The observation that N-words tend to be indefinites is argued to be derived by the intervention of positive implicatures induced by indefinites under negation.

Keywords:   presuppositions and NPI licensing, strawson Downward Entailing, negative concord, n-words, negation, neg-phrase, strong Negative Polarity Items, anti additivity

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