Rhetorically-based scalar-additivity: The view from Italian 'addirittura'

Salt 32 (forthcoming)
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Even-like particles have widely been analyzed as inducing scalar and additive presuppositions (cf. Horn 1969; Karttunen & Peters 1979; Rooth 1992; Gast & van der Auwera 2011). However, the additivity of even has been controversial since at least Horn 1992 and increasingly called into question (see Greenberg & Umbach 2021 for references); Greenberg specifically argues that scalar even-like particles can vary in additivity. This claim is surprising in light of the typological study in Gast & van der Auwera 2011, which subsumes even and similar expressions under a larger class of additive particles. Against this background, we present an analysis of Italian addirittura, which with perfino has been described as scalar-additive (Visconti 2005) – but only optionally so – and is chosen preferentially over perfino precisely in those contexts that Greenberg takes to challenge the additivity of even. We argue, drawing on observations in Atayan 2017, that addirittura contrasts with perfino in deriving its scalar alternatives from rhetorical structure rather than focus structure. Once this is recognized we can view addirittura as additive, after all, in a rhetorical sense we describe below.

Author Profiles

Salvatore Pistoia-Reda
Università degli Studi di Siena
Louise McNally
Universitat Pompeu Fabra


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