We are very happy to announce the next last talk of this semester’s Syntax Colloquium, which will take place on Monday, Dezember 16, 4 – 6 pm in IG 4.301.

Johannes Mursell will talk about „Association with focus in German“.


In this talk, I discuss association with focus in German, i.e. examples like (1), mostly with
respect to possible adjunction sites of the focus sensitive particle nur ‘only’.

(1) Peter hat nur MARIA ein Geschenk gegeben.

I will argue that the strong claim of Büring and Hartmann (2001) (B&H), building on early work
from Jacobs (1983), can be maintained, namely that in German, nur can only be adjoined to
extended verbal projections (VP/vP, TP, CP). I will pay particular attention to two problematic
cases from the literature. Starting with extraposed CPs (Reis, 2005), the behavior of which
forced B&H to weaken their proposal significantly, followed by a discussion of reconstruction
data (Smeets and Wagner, 2018), I will show that B&H’s approach can easily account for the
data when combined with some standard syntactic assumptions.
If time permits, I will then turn to some English data that seem to suggest that the standard
assumption for English that only can adjoin to DP in addition to extended verbal projections, is
at least problematic.

Büring, D. and K. Hartmann (2001). The syntax of focus sensitive particles in German. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 19, 229–281.
Jacobs, J. (1983). Fokus und Skalen. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Reis, M. (2005). On the syntax of so-called focus sensitive particles. a reply to Büring & Hartmann (2001). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 23, 459–483.
Smeets, L. and M. Wagner (2018). Reconstructing the syntax of focus operators. Semantics and Pragmatics 11.


You are cordially invited!