But, scalar implicatures and covert quotation operators

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper deals with a cross linguistically productive, yet puzzling construction whichwe call x but (really) X (e.g. John is always but (really) ALWAYS late), which surprisinglycombines contrast and strengthening. We examine, but reject, an initial analysis where theconjuncts of but in this construction are domain-based or degree-based scalar alternativesand where the second, semantically stronger conjunct rejects a scalar implicature of thefirst. We then develop a revised analysis where but is under the scope of a covert quotationoperator (as in 'mixed quotations'). The analysis captures the 'metalinguistic' flavor of xbut X and the contribution of the 'contrastive' semantics of but to the strengthening effectof the whole construction, and is shown to avoid over-generation risks.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2017
Event21st Amsterdam Colloquium, AC 2017 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Dec 201722 Dec 2017


Conference21st Amsterdam Colloquium, AC 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Software


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