Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ever Since CP2014

In this post I summarize some of the developments since the publication of Collins and Postal 2014 "Classical NEG Raising".

CP2014 present a highly syntactic theory of negation and negative polarity items where the traditional notion of 'licensing' is broken down into various raising and deletion operations.

The research within the framework of CP2014 has branched off in a number of different directions since 2014: the analysis of negative concord, the analysis of interclausal NEG raising and the analysis of negated quantifier phrases. I would be happy to send these papers to anybody who is interested (if they are unable to access them from the publisher or on Lingbuzz).

Negative concord is illustrated in non-standard English in the following example:

(1) I didn't see nobody.

In the framework of CP2014, a natural way to analyze negative concord is as copy raising. In other words, NEG raises from 'nobody' to the post-Aux position, leaving a copy NEG (the 'no' in 'nobody'). Even though NEG raises, only the original in-situ copy is interpreted. This analysis accounts for the fact that (1) is synonymous with (2) and (3):

(2) I didn't see anybody.
(3) I saw nobody.

(2) involves NEG raising with no copy. (3) involves no NEG raising.

Blanchette (2016) develops the copy raising analysis systematically for American English data:

Collins, Postal and Yevudy 2017 (Journal of Linguistics) develop the copy raising idea for Ewe.

Collins and Postal 2017a (Canadian Journal of Linguistics) develop the copy raising idea for Serbo-Croatian:

Unpublished work by Sampson Korsah and Taofeeq Adebayo has extended the framework of CP2014 to the African languages Ga and Yoruba respectively.

One consequence of these analyses is that the difference between NPIs and negative concord is diminished, they are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is that in negative concord, one has copy raising, and with an NPI there is no copy left by the raising. Otherwise, they involve the same structures. As noted by Blanchette in her thesis this parallelism accounts for the parallelism between strict NPIs and negative concord with respect to interclausal NEG raising.

Another strand of research involves interclausal NEG Raising, illustrated in (4):

(4) I don't think this class is interesting
meaning: I think this class is not interesting.

Collins and Postal 2017b (Glossa) show that the analysis presented in CP2014 is not consistent with the Klima tests for sentential negation, and show how to analyze (4) consistent with (a) the truth conditions, (b) the syntactic principles in CP2014, (c) the syntactic tests adduced in CP2014 (islands, Horn clauses and parentheticals), and (d) the Klima tests.

Collins and Postal 2015 (forthcoming) extend the domain of interclausal NEG raising data to the so-called Cloud of Unknowing predicates (originally described by Larry Horn), such as non-factive 'know'.

A central assumption of CP2014 is that quantifier phrases can be modified by negation, illustrated in (5):

(5) Not everybody was there.

CP2014 assume that the constituent structure of (5) involves the constituent [not everybody] as subject. They also provide a rule of semantic interpretation to interpret this kind of negated constituent.

Chris Collins has extended this basic idea in many different directions,  including negating even, subject object asymmetries with negated quantifier phrases, negated comparative quantifier phrases, a constraint on double negation, and a new scope freezing effect. The papers are given here, with a brief description of their content. In the near future I hope to turn this research into a monograph.

The Distribution of Negated Quantifier Phrases in English (2017)

[This paper investigates the syntactic distribution of negated quantifier phrases in English. I give an overview of the syntactic positions where negated quantifier phrases can and cannot appear. I propose a constraint on the distribution of [NEG DP] constituents dubbed the Negated Quantifier Phrase Constraint (NQPC). Much of the empirical material comes from Lasnik 1972/1976 and Postal 1974.]

Negating Comparative Quantifiers (2016)

[In this paper, I discuss various ways to negate comparative quantifiers. I show how to account for them in the framework of the syntax and semantics of negation presented in Collins and Postal (2014).]

*NEG NEG (2016)

[I argue that there is a grammatical (non-semantic) constraint in English that prohibits double negation, dubbed *NEG NEG. I adduce a range of structures to illustrate this constraint, and show that apparent counter-examples are not double negation.]

A Scope Freezing Effect with Negated Quantifiers (2016)

[I document a scope freezing effect found with negated quantifiers (distinct from the scope freezing effect discussed in Collins 2016). I will show how this scope freezing effect can be explained in terms of the analysis of negated quantifiers given in Collins and Postal (2014) and Collins (2016).]

Not Even (2016, Natural Language Semantics)

[The goal of this paper is to give an analysis of the syntax and semantics of even that is consistent with the assumptions in Collins and Postal 2014. The basic fact I account for is that even-phrases can be modified by negation: i. a. Even John is there. b. Not even John is there. This simple fact has several consequences for the analysis of even. First, it suggests that even is a quantifier. Second it supports the assumption that there are two kinds of even, depending on the role the focus plays in the scalar presupposition (see Rooth 1985). Third, it provides another example of NEG raising.]

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