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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2020, Vol. 51, No. 3, Pages 579-596
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00348)
© 2019 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Against Tanglewood by Focus Movement: A Reply to Erlewine and Kotek 2018
Article PDF (520.21 KB)
Abstract

We reply to Erlewine and Kotek’s (2018) claim that the phenomenon of covariation under focus (Tanglewood sentences; Kratzer 1991) is subject to syntactic islands and that it should therefore be handled by a focus movement theory (contra Kratzer’s view). We present novel data that are at odds with Erlewine and Kotek’s conclusions and demonstrate the necessity of an island-insensitive mechanism to capture focus covariation. We revisit Erlewine and Kotek’s main arguments against such a system and show that they are systematically confounded. Moreover, removing the confounds cancels the force of the arguments, corroborating the central point of this article.