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Classical NEG Raising

An Essay on the Syntax of Negation

Chris Collins

Publication Year: 2014

In this book, Chris Collins and Paul Postal consider examples such the one below on the interpretation where Nancy thinks that this course is not interesting: <I>Nancy doesn't think this course is interesting</I>.They argue such examples instantiate a kind of syntactic raising that they term Classical NEG Raising. This involves the raising of a NEG (negation) from the embedded clause to the matrix clause. Collins and Postal develop three main arguments to support their claim. First, they show that Classical NEG Raising obeys island constraints. Second, they document that a syntactic raising analysis predicts both the grammaticality and particular properties of what they term Horn clauses (named for Laurence Horn, who discovered them). Finally, they argue that the properties of certain <I>parenthetical</I> structures strongly support the syntactic character of Classical NEG Raising. Collins and Postal also offer a detailed analysis of the main argument in the literature against a syntactic raising analysis (which they call the Composed Quantifier Argument). They show that the facts appealed to in this argument not only fail to conflict with their approach but actually support a syntactic view. In the course of their argument, Collins and Postal touch on a variety of related topics, including the syntax of negative polarity items, the status of sequential negation, and the scope of negative quantifiers.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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Series Foreword

Laurence R. Horn

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pp. vii

We are pleased to present the sixty-seventh volume in the series Linguistic Inquiry Monographs. These monographs present new and original research beyond the scope of the article. We hope they will benefit our field by bringing...

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Foreword: Classical NEG Raising: The First 900 Years

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pp. ix-xvii

The monograph by Chris Collins and Paul Postal (C&P) that you are about to read went to press on the Golden Anniversary of the first syntactic analysis for the “Transposition of NOT (EVER)” within a fragment of generative grammar: “Under certain conditions (e.g. after verbs like...

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pp. xix-xx

The central claim of this monograph is that examples like (1a) instantiate a kind of syntactic raising that we call Classical NEG Raising. Involved is the raising of a negation (NEG) from the embedded clause to the matrix clause on the interpretation where (1a) is equivalent to (1b):...

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pp. xxi

The first author taught the material presented in this work in a seminar at New York University during the spring semester of 2013. We would like to thank the following participants in that seminar for their judgments, ideas about negation, and feedback on our material: Judy Bernstein, Frances Blanchette...

I. Background

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-12

In addition to the interpretation of (1b) that is a paraphrase of (1a), (1b) has another interpretation where Karen had no expectations at all, perhaps because she had not thought about the matter, or because she had thought about the matter but was undecided...

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2. The Syntactic Representation of Scope

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pp. 13-16

The representation of quantifier scope is critical at multiple points in this monograph. We thus spell out here, in partially informal terms, our general assumptions in this area. Crucially, we take the representation of scope to be syntactic to exactly the same extent as the representation of phrase structure,...

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3. NEG Raising

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pp. 17-27

This study of Classical NR should be understood against a background assumption about negative polarity items (NPIs), sketched in Postal 2005. This view makes the entirely nonstandard assumption that what are normally called NPIs are expressions underlyingly associated with a NEG, which has raised away...

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4. Reversals

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pp. 29-44

In the preceding chapter, we outlined an analysis of certain NPIs in which NEG starts out as a sister of SOME and raises away (usually to a position immediately right-adjacent to Aux). Such a view of NPIs provides a...

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5. NEG Raising from Scope Positions

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pp. 45-47

We proposed that the NEG raises from the NPI in object position and lands in a position right-adjacent to the finite Aux. In this chapter, we argue that the structure outlined in (1b) is considerably oversimplified. We modify the simpler view to take account of our assumption (i) that the NPI phrase...

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6. Polyadic Quantification

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pp. 49-58

Common views of course take the any phrase here to be an NPI, licensed by the c-commanding no one phrase. And common views take a nonstandard English example like (2) (equivalent to (1)) to represent a distinct phenomenon...

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7. NEG Deletion: Case Studies

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pp. 59-68

A key basis of our defense of syntactic approaches to Classical NR, especially that in chapter 16, depends on the concept of NEG deletion. This concept has also obviously played a key role in our analysis of reversals (chapter 4) and polyadic quantification (chapter 6). The...

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8. Elements of a General Conception of NEG Deletion

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pp. 69-77

For the purpose of this monograph, we will treat NEG deletion as a phenomenon based on a primitive binary relation between occurrences notated NDEL(X, Y), where X is the deleter and Y is the deleted element. For English, NEG deletion manifests as the lack of pronunciation of forms normally...

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9. Confounding Cases: Strict NPIs and Scope

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pp. 79-91

Similar pairs with analogous judgment markings play a key role throughout this monograph. By analogous judgment markings, we mean that cases like (1a) and (2a), with CNRP main verbs, are taken to be grammatical, while those like (1b) and (2b), with non-CNRP main verbs, are taken to be...

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10. Strict NPIs and Locality

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pp. 93-100

In this monograph, we have distinguished between strict NPIs, claimed in the previous chapter to all be unary-NEG structures, and nonstrict NPIs. In this chapter, we argue that the commonly suggested semantic condition that a strict NPI occur in the scope of an antiadditive operator (see Jackson...

II. Arguments

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11. Islands: Preliminaries

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pp. 103-109

In this chapter and the next, we will argue that Classical NR is subject to island constraints. This result does not follow from any known semantic/pragmatic approach to Classical NR, and we see no way it can be made to follow....

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12. Islands: Survey

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pp. 111-123

In this chapter, we survey a range of cases where island constraints block Classical NR. At issue are examples invoking the Complex NP Constraint, clause-internal topics, truth predicates, wh-islands, clause-internal clefts, pseudoclefts, and Negative Inversion. The clear generalization is that Classical...

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13. Horn Clauses: Preliminaries

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pp. 125-131

The most obvious characteristic of the construction is that the extracted non-wh-constituent in the clause-initial position, hereafter the Negative Inversion (NI) focus, co-occurs with subject-Aux inversion, which is obligatory, as the following examples...

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14. Horn Clauses: Negative Inversion

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pp. 133-155

After formulating key necessary syntactic and semantic conditions on Negative Inversion, we show that given those conditions, the analysis of Horn clauses presented in chapter 13 is essentially inevitable....

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15. Topicalization

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pp. 157-161

In the preceding chapter, we formulated a proposal for the necessary general condition on Negative Inversion. In this chapter, we investigate conditions on topicalization and the way topicalization structures interact with Classical NR....

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16. The Composed Quantifier Argument

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pp. 163-190

The argument at issue here depends on the existence of a well-documented variant of the Classical NR phenomenon involving not an overt main clause Aux instance of NEG as in (1a) but instead one or another negative quantifi er phrase, like those...

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17. Parentheticals

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pp. 191-204

A further argument for a syntactic view of Classical NR can be based on parenthetical clauses, that is, those like the expressions italicized in (1). In particular, the argument will be based on the principles determining under what conditions negative parenthetical clauses...

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18. Never Raising

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pp. 205-209

In this chapter, we focus on a phenomenon referred to as Never Raising. We highlight problems in a potential nonsyntactic account of Never Raising akin to the nonsyntactic account that we have given of Classical NR....

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19. Nonfinite Clauses

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pp. 211-215

And, impressionistically, the database found in the decades-old literature on Classical NR as a whole consists overwhelmingly of finite host cases. For instance, we make out that in Horn’s (1978) extensive and widely cited study of Classical NR, none of the more than fifty simple negative sentences taken...

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20. Conclusion

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pp. 217-219

We summarize a few of the consequences of general importance that we believe follow from the arguments in the previous nineteen chapters. We need not linger over the fact that we have provided considerable new evidence for the syntactic nature of Classical NR, especially the evidence based...


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pp. 221-247


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pp. 249-258

Name Index

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pp. 259-261

Subject Index

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pp. 263-266

Other Works in the Series

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pp. 267-269

E-ISBN-13: 9780262323840
E-ISBN-10: 0262323842
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262525862

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

Research Areas


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