Almost at-a-distance
Andrew Mckenzie, Lydia Newkirk
August 2019

We claim that the meaning of the adverbial almost contains both a scalar proximity measure and a modal that allows it to work sometimes when proximity fails, what we call the at-a-distance reading. Essentially, almost can hold if the proposition follows from the normal uninterrupted outcomes of adding a small enough number of premises to a selection of relevant facts. Almost at-a-distance is blocked when the temporal properties of the topic time and Davidsonian event prevent normal outcomes from coming true when they need to. This approach to almost differs from the two general approaches that have emerged in the literature, by replacing the negative polar condition (not p) with a positive antecedent condition that entails not p while avoiding the numerous well-documented complications of employing a polar condition. Since this approach to almost involves a circumstantial base with a non-interrupting ordering source, almost behaves in certain ways like the progressive, and shows contextual variability of the same kinds that we see with premise sets.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004737
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistics & Philosophy
keywords: almost, proximity, modality, progressive, semantics
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