Conjunction meets negation

A study in cross-linguistic variation

Anna Szabolcsi, Bill Haddican

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The central topic of this inquiry is a cross-linguistic contrast in the interaction of conjunction and negation. In Hungarian (Russian, Serbian, Italian, Japanese), in contrast to English (German), negated definite conjunctions are naturally and exclusively interpreted as ʼneither’. It is proposed that in Hungarian-type languages conjunctions simply replicate the behaviour of plurals, their closest semantic relatives. The ʼneither’ reading is due to the homogeneity presupposition accompanying distributive prediction over pluralities More puzzling is why English-type languages present a different range of interpretations. By teasing out finer distinctions in focus on connectives, syntactic structure, and context, the paper tracks down missing readings and argues that it is eventually not necessary to postulate a radical cross-linguistic semantic difference. In the course of making that argument it is observed that negated conjunctions on the ʼneither’ reading carry the expectation that the predicate hold of both conjuncts. The paper investigates several hypotheses concerning the source of this expectation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)219-249
    Number of pages31
    JournalJournal of Semantics
    Volume21
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

    Fingerprint

    Linguistics
    Semantics
    linguistics
    Syntactics
    semantics
    language
    interpretation
    interaction
    Negation
    Cross-linguistic Variation
    Language
    homogeneity
    Plurality
    Linguistic Semantics
    Homogeneity
    Interaction
    Syntactic Structure
    Prediction
    Definites
    Distributive

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Artificial Intelligence

    Cite this

    Conjunction meets negation : A study in cross-linguistic variation. / Szabolcsi, Anna; Haddican, Bill.

    In: Journal of Semantics, Vol. 21, No. 3, 01.01.2004, p. 219-249.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Szabolcsi, Anna ; Haddican, Bill. / Conjunction meets negation : A study in cross-linguistic variation. In: Journal of Semantics. 2004 ; Vol. 21, No. 3. pp. 219-249.
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