A variably exhaustive and scalar focus particle and pragmatic focus concord in Burmese
Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Keely Zuo-Qi New
July 2019

The Burmese particle hma expresses exhaustivity in some contexts but a scalar, even-like meaning in other contexts. We propose that hma is uniformly a not-at-issue scalar exhaustive, with semantics similar to that proposed for English it-clefts in Velleman, Beaver, Destruel, Bumford, Onea, and Coppock 2012. When hma takes wide scope, it leads to an exhaustive, cleft interpretation which is not scale-sensitive. When hma takes scope under negation, the resulting expression will have a scale-sensitive felicity condition.
We also analyze the sentence-final mood marker dar, as the choice of interpretation of hma often correlates with its presence or absence, in a manner similar to focus concord effects in other languages. We propose that dar is a marker of propositional clefts and argue that the semantics of hma and the pragmatic requirements of propositional clefts together derive this focus concord effect, as well as its exceptions.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004697
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: burmese, focus particle, exhaustivity, scalarity, cleft, propositional cleft, focus concord, kakari-musubi, semantics
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