Are All Concessive Scalar Particles the Same? Probing into Spanish "Siquiera"

Luis Alonso-Ovalle


Concessive scalar particles (CSPs) (Crnic 2011a,b) (Slovenian magari, Greek esto, and Spanish siquiera, among others) are focus sensitive polarity items that get licensed in a variety of non-veridical contexts, where they trigger a characteristic interpretation: CSPs convey a strengthening effect in downward entailing environments, a ‘settle for less’ interpretation in modal contexts, and a negative bias in questions. This paper explores the characterization of this class of items by probing into Spanish siquiera. The paper reveals differences between siquiera and magari that challenge a straightforward extension to siquiera of the analysis of CSPs presented in Crnic 2011a and Crnic 2011b and shows that the analysis of esto in Giannakidou 2007 does not cover siquiera either —partly for reasons already pointed out for magari by Crnic. The central insights of Crnic's and Giannakidou’s work are nevertheless reconciled in an alternative analysis. The picture that emerges is that CSPs might uniformly convey an existential meaning that determines a set of alternatives, but differ with respect to the role that these alternatives play in determining their interpretation and distribution. 

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