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Separating “Focus Movement” from Focus

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Abstract

This paper revisits the case of “Focus-movement” as manifested in one of its best-studied instances, Hungarian, and assesses it in relation to views of Abar movement within Chomsky’s (1995, 2000) Minimalist Program. I examine whether the movement is due to a formal [Focus] feature, and provide detailed argumentation against this hypothesis. The paper motivates the proposal that the movement involves a distinct quantificational “Exhaustive Identification” (EI) operator, which interacts with Focus only indirectly. It claims that the [EI] operator feature projects a clausal functional head that drives the syntactic movement construed mistakenly in the literature to be Focus-driven movement. After a cross-linguistic exploration of Focus-related movements, the paper evaluates the implications for the tenability of purely interface-based treatments of Focus.

References

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