Abstract

We argue for the existence of covert focus movement in English focus association with only. Our evidence comes from Tanglewood configurations of the form in Kratzer 1991. We show that Tanglewood configurations are sensitive to syntactic islands, contrary to Kratzer’s claims and predictions. We propose that Tanglewood configurations always involve covert movement of the focused constituent—possibly with covert pied-piping—to bind a bound variable in the ellipsis site. This availability of covert pied-piping explains examples such as Kratzer’s where the Tanglewood construction appears to be island-insensitive. We show that covert focus movement is long-distance and not simply Quantifier Raising. Kratzer’s proposal that ellipsis enforces the identity of focus indices and several other previous approaches are shown to overgenerate Tanglewood readings.

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