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Academic Paper

Title: Anyone for non-scalarity?
Author: Patrick J Duffley
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Institution: Université Laval
Author: Pierre Larrivée
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Institution: University of Caen Basse-Normandie
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Abstract: This article examines the status of scalarity in the analysis of the meaning of the English determiner any. The latter's position as a prime exemplar of the category of polarity-sensitive items has led it to be generally assumed to have scalar meaning. Scalar effects are, however, absent from a number of common uses of this word. This suggests that any does not involve scales as part of its core meaning, but produces them as a derived interpretative property. The role of three factors in the derivation of the expressive effect of scalarity is explored: grammatical number, stress and the presence of gradable concepts in the NP. The general conclusions point to the importance of developing a causal semantic analysis in which the contributions of each of the various meaningful components of an utterance to the overall message expressed are carefully distinguished.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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