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Bookmark and Share Paper 2826

Cross-linguistic Differences in Superlative Movement out of Nominal Phrases
Roumyana Pancheva and Barbara Tomaszewicz
292-302 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

We observe that superlatives inside nominal phrases (the most/best books) allow a reading in Slavic that is absent in English. The same variation is found within Slavic as well, where the relevant reading is constrained by the presence of the definite article. To account for the empirical observation, we propose that English -est is interpreted inside definite-marked nominal phrases, while its Slavic counterpart naj- may QR out of indefinite nominal phrases. The relevant readings require focus, but DP-internal -est cannot associate with DP-internal focus. Our account suggests that superlative -est and naj- are degree quantifiers, and that they are focus sensitive; both issues are the subject of debate. Finally, definite nominal phrases are islands for degree movement.

Published in

Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Nathan Arnett and Ryan Bennett
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00