Focus association into copies and the scope of even

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine


Nakanishi 2012 presents a novel argument for the so-called “scope theory” of English VP-even, based on examples with antecedent-contained deletion (ACD). Nakanishi’s argument is based on the assumption that even cannot associate with a focus which has moved out of its scope. I show that this assumption is incorrect, defusing Nakanishi’s argument. I propose that when even associates with a focus which has moved out of its scope, it actually associates with focused material in the lower copies of movement (trace positions). I show that a closer look at ACD examples of Nakanishi’s type in fact forms a new argument against the scope theory. I conclude that English VP-even must always be interpreted in its pronounced position. The patterns of focus association with even presented here constitute a new argument for the copy theory of movement. 

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