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oa (Non-)exhaustivity in focus partitioning across languages

image of (Non-)exhaustivity in focus partitioning across languages

We present novel experimental evidence on the availability and the status of exhaustivity inferences with focus partitioning in German, English, and Hungarian. Results suggest that German and English focus-background clefts and Hungarian focus share important properties, (É. Kiss 1998, 1999; Szabolcsi 1994; Percus 1997; Onea & Beaver 2009). Those constructions are anaphoric devices triggering an existence presupposition. EXH-inferences are not obligatory in such constructions in English, German, or Hungarian, against some previous literature (Percus 1997; Büring & Križ 2013; É. Kiss 1998), but in line with pragmatic analyses of EXH-inferences in clefts (Horn 1981, 2016; Pollard & Yasavul 2016). The cross-linguistic differences in the distribution of EXH-inferences are attributed to properties of the Hungarian number marking system.

  • Affiliations: 1: Universität Potsdam; 2: Universität Graz
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