On the Licensing of Understating NPIs: Manipulating the domain of degrees for Japanese 'anmari' and 'sonnani'

Authors

  • Ai Matsui

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v21i0.2610

Keywords:

NPIs, degree modifiers, understatement, Japanese

Abstract

Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) often have an effect of strengthening the statements which contain them. However, there are also NPIs that contribute to make a weaker claim such as all that (Israel 1996, 2006; van Rooy 2003). I analyze two kinds of such NPIs, namely the degree modifier 'a(n)mari' and 'sonnani' in Japanese, which roughly translate as 'very/much' and '(all) that'. In doing so, two points are considered. First, since the NPIs in question are degree modifiers, I would like to adopt a degree-based semantics and combine it with the idea of domain widening proposed for determiner NPIs such as any. In particular, building on a version of Chierchia's (2006) framework, I consider domain widening in terms of domains of degrees. Second, to capture the nature of understatement, I refer to the notion of quality-based strengthening, rather than informativity/entailment-based strengthening (Israel 2006; Krifka 1995; van Rooy 2003).

Downloads

Published

2011-09-03

Issue

Section

Articles