Getting Even

Luka Crnic, 2011

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The focus-sensitive scalar particle even has an idiosyncratic distribution: it may associate with a weak element in its immediate surface scope only if it is appropriately embedded. We investigate such occurrences of even in two non-downward-entailing environments: in the scope of non-monotone quantifiers and in the scope of desire predicates. We show that they can be properly understood only if we assume that even can move at LF (Karttunen & Peters 1979, Lahiri 1998). The insights garnered in this investigation are then applied to the poorly understood occurrences of negative polarity items in these environments. We argue that they can be explained by assuming that their licensing is governed by a covert even (Krifka 1995, Chierchia 2006). Finally, a parametric account of the differences in distribution between even and other scalar particles is provided. We propose that the distribution of scalar particles is determined by two morphological parameters and their competition for insertion.