Verum accent IS VERUM, but not always focus

Cory Bill, Todor Koev


This paper studies the occurrence of verum accent in declaratives and polar interrogatives. Verum accent exhibits two kinds of interpretational effect: (i) it requires an epistemic conflict across sentence types and (ii) it may also convey a negative speaker bias in polar interrogatives. We argue that the former effect is due to a presuppositional VERUM operator and that the latter effect arises from the possibility of said operator carrying polarity focus. Our proposal implies that verum accenting and polarity focus are two distinct phenomena that interact in interesting ways.


verum accent; polarity focus; question bias

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