Back to restitutive readings again
This paper observes that adverbs meaning ‘back’ systematically give rise to restitutive readings which have long been thought of only as secondary readings of adverbs meaning ‘again’. Restitutive readings are argued to arise from two sources: repetition of a state, or reversal of an event. Languages like English and Hindi-Urdu have a separate dedicated adverb for each, showing the independence of these two sources. A single reversal-based/counterdirectional lexical entry (originally proposed for AGAIN) is demonstrated to capture an intuitive relationship that exists between three core readings of BACK. These readings are, however, shown to have several as yet unconsidered properties that necessitate a finer-grained expression of counterdirectionality than is afforded by the broad concept of reverse events. The paper significantly revises the counterdirectional presupposition, capturing the core readings of BACK-adverbs by appealing not to repetition or reversal but to elements that can be copied from the assertion itself: THEME, SCALE, and end point of scalar change.