Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Keely Zuo-Qi New, 2019.
“A variably exhaustive and scalar focus particle and pragmatic focus concord in Burmese.”
Manuscript, National University of Singapore.
The Burmese particle hma expresses exhaustivity in some contexts but a scalar, even-like meaning in other contexts. We propose that hma is uniformly a not-at-issue scalar exhaustive, with semantics similar to that proposed for English it-clefts in Velleman, Beaver, Destruel, Bumford, Onea, and Coppock 2012. When hma takes wide scope, it leads to an exhaustive, cleft interpretation which is not scale-sensitive. When hma takes scope under negation, the resulting expression will have a scale-sensitive felicity condition.
We also analyze the sentence-ﬁnal mood marker dar, as the choice of interpretation of hma often correlates with its presence or absence, in a manner similar to focus concord eﬀects in other languages. We propose that dar is a marker of propositional clefts and argue that the semantics of hma and the pragmatic requirements of propositional clefts together derive this focus concord eﬀect, as well as its exceptions.