Minimal sufficiency readings of necessity modals
Émile Enguehard
January 2021

This chapter discusses a series of cases where a teleological necessity modal appears to receive a weaker meaning than expected, including the “Sufficiency Modal Construction” of von Fintel and Iatridou (2007). I show that these examples express a shared meaning, Minimal Suffciency, and that describing this meaning requires reference to a ranked scale. The chapter discusses three analytical approaches: von Fintel and Iatridou’s decompositional analysis of “only”, an account based on a scalar weakening operator in the spirit of Alonso-Ovalle and Hirsch (2018), and an account based on alternative-sensitive modals in the spirit of Krasikova (2010). None of the approaches is found to be fully satisfying. The discussion highlights the various challenges raised by Minimal Suffciency examples.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006826
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Ms. University of Amsterdam
keywords: modality, scalar items, only, focus, semantics
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