Expletive negation (EN) is commonly considered to be a unitary phenomenon cross-linguistically codified. In this article I provide empirical arguments to show that in fact EN consists of distinct subtypes and propose a twofold partition between weak and strong EN. More specifically, by investigating Italian, I show that weak EN structures maintain some features typically associated to standard negation (for example, they allow weak-NPIs and n-words) whereas strong EN structures do not, forming a natural class within. Moreover, I highlight a previous unnoticed case of Italian EN clauses I dubbed “Surprise Negative (SNEG) Sentences”. SNEGs are distinct from any other EN type sentences for their semantic, syntactic and pragmatic features. I will provide tests based on Ethical Dative, Expletive e, discourse- related constructions (like focus and topic phenomena) and mirativity value; moreover, I characterize them on the basis of intonational features showing that they blend interrogative and exclamative acoustic features.

IS EXPLETIVE NEGATION A UNITARY PHENOMENON?

Matteo Greco
2019

Abstract

Expletive negation (EN) is commonly considered to be a unitary phenomenon cross-linguistically codified. In this article I provide empirical arguments to show that in fact EN consists of distinct subtypes and propose a twofold partition between weak and strong EN. More specifically, by investigating Italian, I show that weak EN structures maintain some features typically associated to standard negation (for example, they allow weak-NPIs and n-words) whereas strong EN structures do not, forming a natural class within. Moreover, I highlight a previous unnoticed case of Italian EN clauses I dubbed “Surprise Negative (SNEG) Sentences”. SNEGs are distinct from any other EN type sentences for their semantic, syntactic and pragmatic features. I will provide tests based on Ethical Dative, Expletive e, discourse- related constructions (like focus and topic phenomena) and mirativity value; moreover, I characterize them on the basis of intonational features showing that they blend interrogative and exclamative acoustic features.
expletive negation, standard negation, negative polarity items, n-words, negative coordination.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/5741
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