In this paper, we focus on the linguistic behavior and on-line processing of the Italian word mai.1 We are interested in mai as it exhibits typical properties of Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) on the one hand and of Negative-words (N-words) on the other. mai exhibits sensitivity to the entailment patterns associated with the sentence in which it occurs, a feature that characterizes NPIs in general. Moreover, mai gives rise to different meanings depending on its position with respect to the verb, a characteristic of N-words. In this paper, we propose an alternative-based analysis of mai as an NPI with the additional capacity of introducing a covert negation in certain environments in pre-verbal position. The main goal of this project is to investigate, through the case study of mai, the on-line processing of the theoretical mechanisms that we argue are involved in its semantics, such as alternatives, exhaustification and insertion of covert negation.
|Title of host publication||Alternatives in semantics|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 5 May 2011|