A pragmatic analysis of the differences between NPIs and FCIs

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The paper presents an analysis for a systematic distinction between NPIs and FCIs cross-linguistically. It first relates to a range of analyses that treat NPIs and FCIs as indefinites (in the sense of Kamp (1981) and Heim (1982)) that obey a particular semantic/pragmatic constraint that distinguishes them from plain indefinites. For example, Jayez and Tovena (2005) analyse this constraint as an "equity" constraint which demands that all the entities in the referential domain of the indefinite are equally likely referents for this indefinite. The new contribution of this paper consists in proposing that NPIs and FCIs differ on the fact that this "equity" constraint has a different informational status whether it enters the semantic composition of NPIs or FCIs. This is supported by evidence based on the study of three ways of coercing the interpretation of this kind of items.


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