In this work we focused on a particular case of expletive negation, namely the Surprise negation sentences (SNEGs) (Greco 2019a-b). We started from a theoretical discussion on this phenomenon showing that SNEGs display some peculiar properties that seem to have no immediate explanation (such as the fact that they asymmetrically host discourse-related phenomena). To account for these properties in a unitary way, we followed Greco’s (2019) analysis where it was proposed that: (i) the Italian negative marker non (“not”), generally assumed to be merged in the TP-domain (Zanuttini 1997, Poletto 2008), can also be externally merged in the CP-domain (à la Laka 1990); (ii) when the head non (“not”) is merged, the v*P-phase has already been closed; (iii) the entire TP is focalized. We also offered preliminary data from an eye movement study designed to investigate the hypothesis that SNEGs are interpreted as affirmative clauses, according to their syntactic and semantic derivation, rather than as negative ones based on their morphological information. Preliminary results show that the fixation patterns were very similar for affirmative and SNEGs, while differences were observed between negative vs. affirmative sentences. This suggests that the interpretation of negation in the mental representation of a sentence strictly depends on the specific syntactic derivation, as the theoretical analysis predicts.

Expletive Negation: from syntax to eye-movements

Matteo Greco
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Paolo Canal
Data Curation
;
Valentina Bambini
Methodology
;
Andrea Moro
Conceptualization
2019

Abstract

In this work we focused on a particular case of expletive negation, namely the Surprise negation sentences (SNEGs) (Greco 2019a-b). We started from a theoretical discussion on this phenomenon showing that SNEGs display some peculiar properties that seem to have no immediate explanation (such as the fact that they asymmetrically host discourse-related phenomena). To account for these properties in a unitary way, we followed Greco’s (2019) analysis where it was proposed that: (i) the Italian negative marker non (“not”), generally assumed to be merged in the TP-domain (Zanuttini 1997, Poletto 2008), can also be externally merged in the CP-domain (à la Laka 1990); (ii) when the head non (“not”) is merged, the v*P-phase has already been closed; (iii) the entire TP is focalized. We also offered preliminary data from an eye movement study designed to investigate the hypothesis that SNEGs are interpreted as affirmative clauses, according to their syntactic and semantic derivation, rather than as negative ones based on their morphological information. Preliminary results show that the fixation patterns were very similar for affirmative and SNEGs, while differences were observed between negative vs. affirmative sentences. This suggests that the interpretation of negation in the mental representation of a sentence strictly depends on the specific syntactic derivation, as the theoretical analysis predicts.
978-0-914203-90-2
syntax; negation; eye-movements
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/7318
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