A Compositional Semantics for Multiple Focus Constructions

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Abstract

The subject of this article is the semantics of focus, i.e. the development of a framework in which we can formulate the influence of focus on the semantic and pragmatic interpretation. In section (1), I will discuss such a framework, structured meanings. In section (2), I will point out some of its shortcomings, as it is currently worked out; they have to do with cases involving multiple foci. In (3), I develop a general representation format in which we can cope with these problematic cases. Finally, in (4) I will discuss some extensions and possible problems, among others a combined semantic treatment of focus and topic.