Chapter published in:Approaches to Hungarian: Volume 16: Papers from the 2017 Budapest Conference
Edited by Veronika Hegedűs and Irene Vogel
[Approaches to Hungarian 16] 2020
► pp. 208–230
(Non-)exhaustivity in focus partitioning across languages
We present novel experimental evidence on the availability and the status of exhaustivity inferences with focus partitioning in German, English, and Hungarian. Results suggest that German and English focus-background clefts and Hungarian focus share important properties, (É. Kiss 1998, 1999; Szabolcsi 1994; Percus 1997; Onea & Beaver 2009). Those constructions are anaphoric devices triggering an existence presupposition. EXH-inferences are not obligatory in such constructions in English, German, or Hungarian, against some previous literature (Percus 1997; Büring & Križ 2013; É. Kiss 1998), but in line with pragmatic analyses of EXH-inferences in clefts (Horn 1981, 2016; Pollard & Yasavul 2016). The cross-linguistic differences in the distribution of EXH-inferences are attributed to properties of the Hungarian number marking system.
Keywords: clefts, definite pseudoclefts, Hungarian focus, exhaustivity, experimental evidence, semantics-pragmatics interface
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.
For any use beyond this license, please contact the publisher at email@example.com.
Published online: 08 April 2020
2009 Theme with variations. A context-based analysis of focus . PhD thesis. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Büring, Daniel & Manuel Križ
Destruel, Emilie & Joseph P. De Veaugh-Geiss
Destruel, Emilie, Dan Velleman, Edgar Onea, Dillan Bumford, Jingyang Xue, & David Beaver
De Veaugh-Geiss, Joseph P., Malte Zimmermann, Edgar Onea & Anna-Christina Boell
De Veaugh-Geiss, Joseph P., Swantje Tönnis, Edgar Onea & Malte Zimmermann
É. Kiss, Katalin & Lilla Pinter
2014 Identificational focus revisited: The issue of exhaustivity. Paper presented at Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS) 50.
2015 Focus and alternative sensitivity in Ngamo (West Chadic) . PhD thesis. Universität Potsdam.
1982 The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases . PhD thesis. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.
Horn, Laurence R.
Horn, Laurence R.
Onea, Edgar & David I. Beaver
Pollard, Carl & Murat Yasavul
2016 Anaphoric it-clefts: The myth of exhaustivity. Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS) 50.
Saah, Kofi Korankye
1994 Studies in Akan syntax, acquisition, and sentence processing . PhD thesis, University of Ottawa.
2009 Two types of definites in natural language . PhD thesis, Amherst: University of Massachusetts.
Sgall, Petr, Eva Hajičová & Jarmila Panevová
Simons, Mandy, David Beaver, Judith Tonhauser & Craige Roberts
Tonhauser, Judith, David Beaver, Craige Roberts & Mandy Simons
Velleman, Dan, David Beaver, Emilie Destruel, Dylan Bumford, Edgar Onea & Elizabeth Coppock
Wedgwood, Daniel, Gergely Peth & Ronnie Cann
2006 Hungarian ‘focus position’ and English it-clefts: The semantic underspecification of ‘focus’ readings. Ms., University of Edinburgh.
2016 Cross-linguistic variability (and uniformity) in focus-background partitioning. Presentation at KNAW Colloquium ‘Language Variation in Action’ . Amsterdam, 19 February 2016.