Hurford disjunctions: Embedded exhaustification and structural economy

Roni Katzir, Raj Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Hurford’s Constraint, which bans disjunctions in which one disjunct entails the other, has been central to the debate between the pragmatic and the grammatical view on Scalar Implicatures. We provide evidence that Hurford’s Constraint should be derived from more basic principles, and we propose such a derivation using a pragmatic prohibition against redundant constituents. In a first, more conservative version, the redundancy is specific to disjunctions. In a second, more general version, redundancy is banned regardless of constituent type. Both versions make new predictions about the emergence of oddness in cases that are not covered by Hurford’s Constraint.
The first version is too restricted. The second one is incorrect. We explore a revised architecture in which the relevant redundancy principle applies locally in the semantic computation. This perspective makes different predictions about oddness than the first two and has a potentially interesting extension to oddness in quantificational constructions, which we discuss. All our attempts to generalize Hurford’s Constraint require the grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 18
Subtitle of host publication[in the Basque Country]
EditorsUrtzi Etxeberria, Anamaria Fălăuş, Aritz Irurtzun, Bryan Leferman
PublisherUniversity of the Basque Country Press
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2014


  • Hurford’s constraint
  • Scalar implicature
  • Exhaustivity
  • Redundancy
  • Economy
  • Presuppositions
  • Domain restriction


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