Intervention effects in NPI licensing: a quantitative assessment of the scalar implicature explanation

Milica Denic, Emmanuel Chemla, Lyn Tieu

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    2 Citations (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper reports on five experiments investigating intervention effects in negative polarity item (NPI) licensing. Such intervention effects involve the unexpected ungrammaticality of sentences that contain an intervener, such as a universal quantifier, in between the NPI and its licensor. For example, the licensing of the NPI any in the sentence *Monkey didn’t give every lion any chocolate is disrupted by intervention. Interveners also happen to be items that trigger scalar implicatures in environments in which NPIs are licensed (Chierchia 2004; 2013). A natural hypothesis, initially proposed in Chierchia (2004), is that there is a link between the two phenomena. In this paper, we investigate whether intervention effects arise when scalar implicatures are derived.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number49
    Pages (from-to)1–27
    Number of pages27
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • intervention effects
    • negative polarity items
    • scalar implicature
    • experimental semantics


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