Negation is a universal syntactic phenomenon only employed in human languages. People use negative sentences in every-day conversations, and they display complex semantic and syntactic properties. Crucially, some languages employ negative sentences to assert affirmative and surprise propositions. A clear example is offered by Italian: ‘E non (not) mi è scesa dal treno Maria?!’ (‘Maria got off the train!’). This special type of negation is called Surprise Negation, and it belongs to the class of Expletive Negation. This book attempts to shed light on this puzzling phenomenon, by means of a theoretical analysis and an experimental study. Two questions, particularly, need to be addressed: (i) what are the contexts, mainly syntactic, where negation receives its expletive interpretation? (ii) Is expletive negation a phenomenon grammatically distinct from standard negation or are they the same one? This book proposes a new approach to the study of negation by bringing together some aspects of the Minimalist Program and of the Cartographic Project.

The syntax of surprise: expletive negation and the left periphery

Matteo Greco
2020

Abstract

Negation is a universal syntactic phenomenon only employed in human languages. People use negative sentences in every-day conversations, and they display complex semantic and syntactic properties. Crucially, some languages employ negative sentences to assert affirmative and surprise propositions. A clear example is offered by Italian: ‘E non (not) mi è scesa dal treno Maria?!’ (‘Maria got off the train!’). This special type of negation is called Surprise Negation, and it belongs to the class of Expletive Negation. This book attempts to shed light on this puzzling phenomenon, by means of a theoretical analysis and an experimental study. Two questions, particularly, need to be addressed: (i) what are the contexts, mainly syntactic, where negation receives its expletive interpretation? (ii) Is expletive negation a phenomenon grammatically distinct from standard negation or are they the same one? This book proposes a new approach to the study of negation by bringing together some aspects of the Minimalist Program and of the Cartographic Project.
1527540928
978-1527540927
Negation; Surprise Effect; Functional Words; Left Periphery; Syntax; Pragmatics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/6213
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