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Even doesn’t move but associates into traces: A reply to Nakanishi 2012

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Nakanishi (Nat Lang Semant 20(2):115–136, 2012) presents a novel argument for the so-called scope theory of English sentential even (VP-even), based on examples with antecedent-contained deletion (ACD). Nakanishi’s argument is based on the assumption that even cannot associate with a focus which has moved out of its LF scope. I show that this assumption is incorrect, defusing Nakanishi’s argument. I propose that when even associates with a focus which has moved out of its surface scope, it actually associates with focused material in the lower copies of movement (trace positions). I show that a closer look at ACD examples of Nakanishi’s type in fact yields a new argument against the scope theory. I conclude that English sentential even must always be interpreted in its pronounced position. The patterns of focus association with even presented here constitute a new argument for the copy theory of movement.

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Erlewine, M.Y. Even doesn’t move but associates into traces: A reply to Nakanishi 2012. Nat Lang Semantics 26, 167–191 (2018).

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