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Information StructureTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives$
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Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.001.0001

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Structural focus and exhaustivity *

Structural focus and exhaustivity *

(p.64) 4 Structural focus and exhaustivity*
Information Structure

Katalin É. Kiss

Oxford University Press

In chapter 4 ‘Structural focus and exhaustivity’, Katalin É. Kiss claims that the structural focus of the Hungarian sentence, occupying Spec,FocP, and structural focus (e.g. the English cleft), in general, encodes the feature [+exhaustive]. After reviewing the standard arguments for the exhaustivity of structural focus, a new argument against it, proposed by Wedgwood (2005), is examined, and is shown to be based on a false premise. Finally, a new type of evidence is presented. It is argued (following van Kuppevelt (1996), and Wedgwood (2005)) that the ‘exactly n’ reading of a focussed numeral (as opposed to its basic, ‘at least n’ meaning) is a manifestation of its exhaustivity. It is shown that the ‘exactly n’ meaning of focussed numerals is grammaticalized in Hungarian; it is associated with the preverbal focus position, causing obligatory focus movement in the case of certain types of scalar elements, and predictable, structurally determined meaning differences in the case of others.

Keywords:   structural focus, exhaustive, scalar element, numeral

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