The Syntax and Semantics of (Multiple) Negation

This course forms a discussion in the theory of negation. Negation is a harsh and widely discussed topic. In this course we will have a close look at the interface between the syntax and semantics of negation. Especially with respect to multiple negation this pattern shows some large ununderstood difficulties. In many languages and dialects two negative elements to not cancel each other out, but rather yield one single negation or emphasize each other. this phenomenon is called Negative Concord. this subject will be examined during the second half of the course, where we will discuss all different theories and evaluate them.

  1. Introduction: syntax of negation; semantics of negation; compositionality and the interpretation of syntactic structure;
  2. Negative polarity: downward entailment; non-veridicality; c-command; syntax vs semantics;
  3. Negative Concord: a taxonomy of multiple negation; the NEG criterion; Wh and negation; negative absortion; Head negation vs spec negation;
  4. Concord and Polarity: negation as non-veridical operator; n-words as polarity items; negative inherence vs lexical ambiguity;
  5. Absortion vs Polarity: syntax and semantics of scope; an alternative analysis; the battle of the theories;


Giannakidou (2000)
Haegeman (1995)
Horn (1994, 2001)
Ladusaw (1992)
Ladusaw (1996)
Wouden, Ton van der (1994)
Zanuttini (1997)