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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter June 2, 2015

A distributed syntax for evaluative ‘only’ sentences

Daniel Hole


I claim in this article that several operators in different positions interact to yield the meaning of a nur sentence in German which may receive an evaluative interpretation such as Paul aß nur Kekse ʻPaul only ate cookies (and the speaker considers this little and/or bad)ʼ. The exclusive component of meaning comes from an adverbial particle as in the standard account. For the evaluative component of meaning which is present in many nur sentences, I assume an interplay of C/I domain evaluative categories and an operator in ad-focus position. Evidence for the interplay of these operators comes from contexts in German and Dutch in which both the exclusive and the ad-focus operator are pronounced, from topicalization and extraposition data, from subordinate clauses with an impoverished C domain, from a newspaper corpus search and from a blocking effect induced by negation.

Published Online: 2015-6-2
Published in Print: 2015-6-1

©2015 Walter de Gruyter, Berlin Boston

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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