Semifactives in comparatives

Authors

  • Nicholas Fleisher University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/82ex1x59

Abstract

This is more complicated than I realized. How are we to understand the status of realize's complement in a sentence like this? What sort of relationship must this complement bear to its matrix environment, in light of realize's status as a cognitive factive or semifactive predicate (Kiparsky & Kiparsky 1970; Karttunen 1971)? Comparative constructions, I suggest, do much to illuminate the nature of semifactives and the semantic–pragmatic status of their clausal complements. Specifically, I propose that semifactives support graded awareness—knowledge of something less, but not more, than the full truth with respect to some question or issue—while requiring that their complement be informationally consistent with the matrix environment, rather than presupposed true. The picture that emerges fits naturally with pragmatic approaches to presupposition generation and projection (Beaver 2010; Simons, Beaver, Roberts & Tonhauser 2017; Degen & Tonhauser 2022) and depends on sensitivity to scalar polarity and orientation (Kennedy 2001).

Author Biography

  • Nicholas Fleisher, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    Associate Professor of Linguistics

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Published

2024-01-19

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Articles