Expressions in focus

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Poppy Mankowitz


It is commonly claimed that, when a constituent is the focus of an occurrence of a sentence, certain alternatives to that constituent are relevant to our understanding of the sentence. Normally these are alternatives to the denotation of the focused constituent. However, Krifka (2007) briefly discusses the notion of expression focus, where the alternatives are linguistic items. Yet an adequate account of expression focus has not been given within the literature. This is despite the fact that it holds the potential to provide analyses of several important metalinguistic phenomena, including metalinguistic negotiation, metalinguistic negation and embedded pejorative expressions. This paper provides an account of expression focus and shows the explanatory power it holds with respect to metalinguistic phenomena.

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