Article published in:Linguistics in the Netherlands 2020
Edited by Elena Tribushinina and Mark Dingemanse
[Linguistics in the Netherlands 37] 2020
► pp. 103–118
Syntax of the Palestinian Arabic negation-associated exclusive construction
This paper presents an analysis of a Palestinian Arabic negation-associated exclusive construction featuring the contrastive focus marker illa ‘but’, with theoretical implications for the syntax of negation, negative polarity item licensing, and the categorical status of the root in sentential syntax. It analyzes illa-phrases as constituents licensed by a c-commanding sentential negation (Neg), and illa as a grammatical device encoding contrastiveness. A crucial source for the exclusive semantics of the construction comes from a silent bass ‘only’ immediately following illa that constitutes a syntactic ‘shield’ against Neg scope. Rather than taking an in-situ focus-interpretation approach (cf. Rooth 1985, 1992), we argue for two covert movements at the syntax-semantics interface: quantifier raising of illa-phrases to the designated specifier of polarity Phrase followed by Polarity-to-Focus-raising of Neg. This creates the right syntactic configuration for the truth conditional import of both operators and captures the ‘classical’ thought that focus-sensitive exclusive operators like only quantify over propositional alternatives.
Keywords: negation, exclusive operator, focus, covert movement, nominal root
Published online: 27 October 2020
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