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Focus Association with ONLY

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Rus tol’ko and Chn zhiyou share an aggregate of properties that set them apart from English only. The former two must be immediately adjacent to their focalized associate in contrast to English, where focus association can be discontinuous. I aspire to show that this adjacency requirement is a consequence of syntactic focus movement, triggered by a strong [Foc] feature. The movement of this type results in right-adjunction of an F-marked constituent to only, yielding an appropriately local feature-checking configuration. Rus/Chn only itself is limited to a handful of positions within the structure. Specifically, it must meet two requirements in order to merge successfully. First, only adjoins strictly to functional projections. Second, these functional projections themselves must also be phases. Ultimately, the goal is to demonstrate that only can adjoin to vP, CP and FP: i.e. phasal functional projections in the verbal, clausal and nominal domains. Theoretical implications of this treatment are then discussed.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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