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Pleonastic negation from a cross-lingustic perspective / Irena Zovko Dinković; Gašper Ilc.

By: Zovko Dinković, Irena.
Contributor(s): Ilc, Gašper [aut].
Material type: ArticleArticlePublisher: 2017Description: 159-180 str.Other title: Pleonastic negation from a cross-lingustic perspective [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | pleonastic negation ; negative concord ; modality ; temporal sequencing ; syntax | pleonastic negation ; negative concord ; modality ; temporal sequencing ; syntaxOnline resources: Click here to access online | Click here to access online In: Jezikoslovlje 18 (2017), 1 ; str. 159-180Summary: In recent linguistic theory, pleonastic negation is treated either as an instance of a lexically present but semantically vacuous negation, often placed in relation to negative polarity (e.g. Portner and Zanuttini 2000 ; Espinal 1992 ; van der Wouden 1994, among others) or as a special subtype of negation that differs from “proper” or sentential negation in terms of its syntactic, as well as semantic scope, and may actually be considered a form of (negative) modality (Mueller 1991 ; Abels 2005 ; Yoon 2011). We follow the latter approach and discuss pleonastic negation as it appears in different languages with the primary focus on Croatian and Slovenian. In doing so, we observe that, even though the syntactic environments in which pleonastic negation occurs are highly comparable, there seems to be a parametric variation as to the level of optionality of pleonastic negation, and to the type of mood with which pleonastic negation is used (Ilc 2012 ; Zovko Dinković 2015). Based on empirical data, we argue that the difference in the scope of negation between sentential and pleonastic negation is mirrored directly in their syntactic properties: while the former licenses n-words, the latter cannot license them. Both types of negation, however, may trigger the Genitive of Negation in languages still displaying the Genitive of Negation in negated clauses as is the case with Slovenian. The observations and the analysis presented in this paper are aimed at contributing to a better understanding of pleonastic negation by attempting to prove that it is neither semantically empty nor a feature of sentence negation, but rather a linguistic phenomenon akin to other means of expressing modality in language.
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In recent linguistic theory, pleonastic negation is treated either as an instance of a lexically present but semantically vacuous negation, often placed in relation to negative polarity (e.g. Portner and Zanuttini 2000 ; Espinal 1992 ; van der Wouden 1994, among others) or as a special subtype of negation that differs from “proper” or sentential negation in terms of its syntactic, as well as semantic scope, and may actually be considered a form of (negative) modality (Mueller 1991 ; Abels 2005 ; Yoon 2011). We follow the latter approach and discuss pleonastic negation as it appears in different languages with the primary focus on Croatian and Slovenian. In doing so, we observe that, even though the syntactic environments in which pleonastic negation occurs are highly comparable, there seems to be a parametric variation as to the level of optionality of pleonastic negation, and to the type of mood with which pleonastic negation is used (Ilc 2012 ; Zovko Dinković 2015). Based on empirical data, we argue that the difference in the scope of negation between sentential and pleonastic negation is mirrored directly in their syntactic properties: while the former licenses n-words, the latter cannot license them. Both types of negation, however, may trigger the Genitive of Negation in languages still displaying the Genitive of Negation in negated clauses as is the case with Slovenian. The observations and the analysis presented in this paper are aimed at contributing to a better understanding of pleonastic negation by attempting to prove that it is neither semantically empty nor a feature of sentence negation, but rather a linguistic phenomenon akin to other means of expressing modality in language.

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