Weakening is external to only

Authors

  • Luis Alonso-Ovalle McGill University
  • Aron Hirsch University of Maryland

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/w42dk446

Abstract

By default, only (p) presupposes the ‘prejacent’ p, as predicted by the classical analysis in Horn 1969. Yet, in some cases, only (p) instead presupposes a weaker existential claim that some alternative is true (e.g. Klinedinst 2005). What is the mechanism by which the presupposition of only is weakened? Crniˇc (2022) takes the presupposition of only to involve quantification, and derives weakening from domain restriction. We present a challenge to this approach, and offer an alternative. In Alonso-Ovalle & Hirsch 2022, we proposed that the grammar makes available a covert operator, which can occur in the complement of only, weakening its argument. We show that this approach offers a straightforward analysis of cases where the presupposition of only is weakened to existential.

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Published

2024-01-24

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Section

Articles