Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 1–50 | Cite as

Economy and embedded exhaustification

  • Danny Fox
  • Benjamin SpectorEmail author


Building on previous works which argued that scalar implicatures can be computed in embedded positions, this paper proposes a constraint on exhaustification (an economy condition) which restricts the conditions under which an exhaustivity operator can be licensed. We show that this economy condition allows us to derive a number of generalizations, such as, in particular, the ‘Implicature Focus Generalization’: scalar implicatures can be embedded under a downward-entailing operator only if the (relevant) scalar term bears pitch accent. Our economy condition also derives specific predictions regarding the licensing of so-called Hurford disjunctions.


Exhaustivity Scalar implicatures Hurford disjunctions Redundancy Focus 


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We would like to thank Emmanuel Chemla, Luka Crnic, Roni Katzir, Giorgio Magri, Paolo Santorio, and Philippe Schlenker.


Funding was provided by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Grant Nos. ANR-10-LABX-0087 IEC, ANR-10-IDEX-0001-02 PSL*) and H2020 European Research Council (Grant No. 324115-FRONTSEM).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and PhilosophyMITCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Institut Jean Nicod (ENS – EHESS – CNRS), Département d’Études Cognitives, École Normale SupérieurePSL Research UniversityParisFrance

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