I propose that the Polish adverb aż should be analyzed as a scalar opposite of scalar only/merely. On my analysis aż is a focus associating adverb taking propositional scope at LF just like only/merely. Part of the semantic contribution of aż is the ordering of focus alternatives on a scale of a contextually salient dimension, which is also obtained with only/merely. Aż and scalar only place their prejacents on opposite sides of the scale. The way the two emerge as scalar opposites is due to a combination of different meaning components: two presuppositions and an assertion. Aż presupposes that the prejacent significantly exceeds the contextual standard on the relevant scale, and asserts that no lower alternative is true. Additionally, it presupposes that at most the prejacent is true. Scalar only/merely presupposes that the prejacent is low on the contextual scale (Klinedinst 2005) and that a proposition at least as strong as the prejacent holds, and asserts that no higher alternative is true.
Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Nathan Arnett and Ryan Bennett Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-454-6 library binding
v + 334 pages
publication date: 2012
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA