Thursday, June 13, 2019

Best All-in-One Negation Package

The following papers all explore the issue of negating quantifier phrases. The topic is extremely rich, and has barely been scratched in the existing literature on negation and quantification (with the exception of "split scope" for which there exists a small literature). They all start from the assumption that it is possible to combine negation directly with a quantifier phrase: [NEG QP]. All of the papers were all written in the framework of Collins and Postal 2014. I do not include papers here on NEG Raising, which raises related but different issues.

Decomposing Quantifier Phrases and Split Scope (with Paul Postal)
June 2018
Abstract: In this paper, we propose to analyze split scope in terms of quantification over covert number/amount expressions, so that a quantifier phrase like no employees can have a syntactic and semantic analysis similar to the pseudo-partitive no number of employees. More specifically, we propose to syntactically decompose some negative existential quantifier phrases (e.g., no employees) into two components: (a) an existential quantification over numbers, and (b) a quantification over sums of individuals. We show how these two components have an effect on truth conditions just in case the scope positions of the two components are separated by certain other quantificational expressions, including modal verbs. We argue that this approach is consistent with the proposals about the syntax and semantics of negation and quantifier scope in Collins and Postal (2014) and, moreover, yields an analysis of no employees type split scope cases requiring no special assumptions about negation or quantifier scope beyond those in that work.

Negating Gradable Adjectives
June 2018
In this paper, I give an analysis of the syntax and semantics of the prefix un- with gradable adjectives like unhappy, unfriendly, unsafe, uninteresting, and compare it to the syntax and semantics of not. Within the framework of Collins and Postal 2014, I propose that un- and not have the same semantics but negate different constituents, accounting for differences in interpretation.

Abstract: 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.

The Distribution of Negated Quantifier Phrases in English
March 2017
Abstract: 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.

A Scope Freezing Effect with Negated Quantifier Phrases
September 2017
Abstract: I document a scope freezing effect found with negated quantifier phrases (distinct from the scope freezing effect discussed in Collins 2016a). In a sentence with a negated quantifier phrase of the form [NEG DP1], no quantifier phrase DP2 can take scope between NEG and DP1. I show how this scope freezing effect can be explained in terms of the analysis of negated quantifier phrases given in Collins and Postal (2014) and Collins (2016a).

Scalar Modification of Quantifier Phrases
September 2017
Abstract: This paper analyzes the syntax and semantics of scalar modifiers of quantifier phrases in expressions like almost every student, absolutely every student and nowhere near every student. The semantics is based on scales (positive and negative) of generalized quantifiers.

Outer Negation of Universal Quantifier Phrases
August 2017
Abstract: This paper discusses two ways of negating DP quantifier phrases. In one way, NEG modifies the quantifier D directly with the structure [[NEG D] NP] (inner negation). In the other way, NEG modifies the whole DP with the structure [NEG DP] (outer negation). I give evidence based on negative polarity items that negated universal quantifier phrases like not every student involve outer negation.

On the Subject of Negative Auxiliary Inversion (with Frances Blanchette)
July 2017
Abstract: This paper presents a novel analysis of Negative Auxiliary Inversion (NAI) constructions such as ‘didn’t many people eat’, in which a negated auxiliary appears in pre-subject position. NAI, found in varieties including Appalachian, African American, and West Texas English, has a word order identical to a yes/no question, but receives a declarative interpretation. We propose that NAI subjects are negative DPs, and that the negation raises from the subject DP to cliticize to Fin (a functional head in the left periphery). Three properties of NAI motivate this analysis: (i) scope freezing effects, (ii) the various possible and impossible NAI subject types, and (iii) the incompatibility of NAI constructions with true Double Negation interpretations. Implications for theories of Negative Concord, Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) and the representation of negation are discussed.

Negating Comparative Quantifiers
November 2016
Abstract: 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).

Not Even
August 2015
Abstract: 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.

Negative Polarity Items in Ewe
August 2015
Abstract: This paper investigates negation and negative polarity items (NPIs) in Ewe. First, we analyze Ewe ke-NPIs in terms of NEG raising. Second, we show that three parameters of variation distinguish English NPIs from Ewe NPIs. Third, we give an analysis of bipartite negation in Ewe that builds on our NEG raising analysis of Ewe NPIs. Fourth, we give a brief survey of non-ke-NPIs, and discuss how they fit into the analysis.

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