Scalar properties of negative polarity superlatives
Most theories agree that polarity sensitivity must be related to scalarity one way or another. Superlatives are a good example of this, since their “endpoint nature” allows for them to be in negative contexts with a quantitative interpretation. In this paper, I follow Fauconnier’s (1975a) work in distinguishing two different types of polarity-sensitive superlatives and I show how they manifest in Spanish. I argue that in this language the distinction is formally marked, what allows us to reach different conclusions from those of Fauconnier. On this line, I will defend that both types of polarity-sensitive superlatives have scalar properties of a very different nature. Thus, while for one the quantitative reading is pragmatically-driven, for the other it is semantically-driven.
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