Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919
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This paper presents an analysis of a Palestinian Arabic negation-associated exclusive construction featuring the contrastive focus marker ‘but’, with theoretical implications for the syntax of negation, negative polarity item licensing, and the categorical status of the root in sentential syntax. It analyzes phrases as constituents licensed by a c-commanding sentential negation (Neg), and as a grammatical device encoding contrastiveness. A crucial source for the exclusive semantics of the construction comes from a silent ‘only’ immediately following that constitutes a syntactic ‘shield’ against Neg scope. Rather than taking an focus-interpretation approach (cf. Rooth 19851992), we argue for two covert movements at the syntax-semantics interface: quantifier raising of -phrases to the designated specifier of polarity Phrase followed by Polarity-to-Focus-raising of Neg. This creates the right syntactic configuration for the truth conditional import of both operators and captures the ‘classical’ thought that focus-sensitive exclusive operators like quantify over propositional alternatives.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): covert movement; exclusive operator; focus; negation; nominal root
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