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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the properties of minimizers and maximizers (i.e. minimal and maximal extent- or quantity-denoting expressions) in English, Catalan, and Spanish. Special emphasis is put on (i) establishing which type of polarity item these expressions align with, and (ii) identifying connections between them and other elements of the polarity landscape such as negative quantifiers and Negative Concord Items. It is shown that different minimizers and maximizers pattern with Affective Polarity Items, Negative Polarity Items, or Positive Polarity Items in the three studied languages, and that English minimizers behave similarly to negative quantifiers when negation is adjacent to them, while in Catalan and Spanish they behave like Negative Concord Items when headed by the particle ni ‘not even’. Vulgar (taboo word) minimizers, which have been argued to carry an incorporated zero numeral in the literature, are claimed to be lexically ambiguous between zero-incorporated structures and Affective Polarity Items.

Keywords: minimizers, maximizers, affective polarity items, negative polarity items, positive polarity items, English, Catalan, Spanish

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