Just perfect, simply the best : an analysis of emphatic exclusion

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2022
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Linguistics and Philosophy. Springer. 2022, 45(2), pp. 321-364. ISSN 0165-0157. eISSN 1573-0549. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10988-021-09326-x
Zusammenfassung

When used next to a predicate at the extreme of a scale such as perfect, the exclusive modifiers just and simply convey a distinctive intensifying effect, presenting a puzzle for theories of exclusivity and alternative-based meanings more broadly. In this article, I develop an analysis of these modifiers as a special kind of alternative-targeting operator, whereby the speaker signals that more specific descriptions than the one they just asserted—modeled here as granularity-based alternatives—are not assertion-worthy in the context—i.e., they need not be asserted in order for a complete representation of the facts to be provided. On this analysis, the intensifying effect of these modifiers are derived from the interaction of exclusivity, granularity, and the distinctive semantic properties of predicates denoting the extreme of a scalar extreme. More broadly, the proposal affords a jumping-off point for further work exploring the interaction between scalarity and exclusive operators, highlighting a number of intriguing lines of future research across semantics and pragmatics.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
400 Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik
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Exclusives, Scalar extremeness, Granularity, Question Under Discussion, Assertion-worthiness
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ISO 690BELTRAMA, Andrea, 2022. Just perfect, simply the best : an analysis of emphatic exclusion. In: Linguistics and Philosophy. Springer. 2022, 45(2), pp. 321-364. ISSN 0165-0157. eISSN 1573-0549. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10988-021-09326-x
BibTex
@article{Beltrama2022perfe-59409,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1007/s10988-021-09326-x},
  title={Just perfect, simply the best : an analysis of emphatic exclusion},
  number={2},
  volume={45},
  issn={0165-0157},
  journal={Linguistics and Philosophy},
  pages={321--364},
  author={Beltrama, Andrea}
}
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