Additive presuppositions are derived through activating focus alternatives

Proceedings of the 2017 Amsterdam Colloquium (2017)
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The additive presupposition of particles like "too"/"even" is uncontested, but usually stipulated. This paper proposes to derive it based on two properties. (i) "too"/"even" is cross-linguistically focus-sensitive, and (ii) in many languages, "too"/"even" builds negative polarity items and free-choice items as well, often in concert with other particles. (i) is the source of its existential presupposition, and (ii) offers clues regarding how additivity comes about. (i)-(ii) together demand a sparse semantics for "too/even," one that can work with different kinds of alternatives (focus, subdomain, scalar) and invoke suitably different further operators.
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First archival date: 2017-12-02
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