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On the Locus of the Interpretable Negative Feature in a Negative Sentence

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Authors
Chung, Daeho
Issue Date
2014
Publisher
서울대학교 언어교육원
Citation
어학연구, Vol.50 No.2, pp. 461-486
Keywords
short answerpolarity reversalnegative neutralizationellipsissemantic isomorphic conditioninterpretable negative featurehigher/lower sigma (Σ)
Description
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Korea Generative Grammar
Circle (KGGC) Spring Conference held at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in
April, 2014
Abstract
Kramer and Rawlins (K & R 2009) analyze short answers yes and no to a polar question as sentence fragments involving TP ellipsis along the similar lines of Merchants (2001, 2004) treatment of short answers to a content question. Their TP ellipsis analysis was mainly grounded on the following two factual claims in (i) and (ii) and the theoretical assumption in (iii): (i) Short answers to an outer negative question carry the same meaning as short answers to an affirmative question; (ii) Short answers yes and no to an inner negative question are neutralized as a negative meaning, which K & R (2009) dub as negative neutralization; and (iii) the interpretable negative feature of a negative sentence may reside in the higher or lower Σ. This paper, however, refutes the factual claim in (ii) (negative neutralization) and the theoretical assumption in (iii). It is shown that (ii) is not (at least not always) empirically supported, when corpus data is considered, and that (iii) faces non-trivial theoretical problems. This paper instead proposes that the interpretable negative feature resides in the higher Σ, treating an overt or covert negation morpheme in the lower Σ as pleonastic. The proposed higher negative theory draws further support from the scope widening effects of negation and polarity reversals displayed in NPI/N-word fragmental answers to a content question.
ISSN
0254-4474
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/93287
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Language Education Institute (언어교육원)Language Research (어학연구)Language Research (어학연구) Volume 50 Number 1/3 (2014)
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