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Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 57–123 | Cite as

Focus and Negative Polarity in Hindi

  • Utpal Lahiri
Article

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of negative polarity items (NPIs) in Hindi. It is noted that NPIs in this language are composed of a (weak) indefinite plus a particle bhii meaning ‘even’. It is argued that the compositional semantics of this combination explains their behavior as NPIs as well as their behavior as free choice (FC) items. I assume that weak Hindi indefinites like ek and koi are to be viewed as a predicate that I call one, a predicate that is true of everything that exists. I further assume that bhii exhibits association with focus with the indefinite, and that this leads to contradictory implicatures in positive contexts. The behavior of these phrases in a variety of syntactic contexts is discussed, including constructions like correlatives. Finally, I provide a comparison with analyses of English any, and discuss the relevance of the analysis presented here for that of any.

Keywords

Free Choice Negative Polarity Polarity Item Compositional Semantic Negative Polarity Item 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Utpal Lahiri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California at IrvineIrvineU.S.A.

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