Focus and Quantification
In What Counts, Elena Herburger considers the effects of focus on interpretation. She investigates how focus affects the pragmatics and truth conditions of a sentence by rearranging its quantificational structure.
Adopting a neo-Davidsonian stance, Herburger claims that various pragmatic and truth-conditional effects of focus sustain a uniform explanation if focus is viewed as imposing structure on otherwise unrestricted quantification. Phenomena discussed include "free" focus, the interaction between focus and negation, the quantificational structure of adverbs of quantification, the semantics of only and even, and the differences between weak and strong determiners.
One of Herburger's aims is to show that a simple semantics, without reliance on such notions as semantic presupposition, can account for the truth-conditional and pragmatic effects of focus. The book will be of interest to anyone exploring the syntax-semantics interface and current theories of quantification.
Linguistic Inquiry Monograph No. 36