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Classical NEG Raising

Classical NEG Raising: An Essay on the Syntax of Negation

Chris Collins
Paul M. Postal
foreword by Laurence R. Horn
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 296
  • Book Info
    Classical NEG Raising
    Book Description:

    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:Nancy doesn't think this course is interesting.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 certainparentheticalstructures 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.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32384-0
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Samuel Jay Keyser

    We are pleased to present the sixty-seventh volume in the seriesLinguistic Inquiry Monographs. These monographs present new and original research beyond the scope of the article. We hope they will benefit our field by bringing to it perspectives that will stimulate further research and insight.

    Originally published in limited edition, theLinguistic Inquiry Monographsare now more widely available. This change is due to the great interest engendered by the series and by the needs of a growing readership. The editors thank the readers for their support and welcome suggestions about future directions for the series....

  4. Foreword “Classical NEG Raising: The First 900 Years”
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    Laurence R. Horn

    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 WANT or THINK which are themselves not negated), a NOT in the embedded sentence may be moved in front of the main verb . . .” (Fillmore 1963: 220). In motivating both his rule and the syntactic cycle itself, illustrated by the “repeated applications” of this movement rule involved in his proposed derivation of...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. I Background

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-12)

      On one reading, English examples like (1a) seem to be paraphrases of corresponding examples like (1b):

      (1) a. Karen expected that the moon would not turn purple.

      b. Karen did not expect that the moon would turn purple.

      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.

      This a priori unexpected semantic similarity between structures with negation in the complement clause and those with negation...

    • 2 The Syntactic Representation of Scope
      (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, word order, categories, and so on.

      We take the scope of quantifiers to be represented syntactically by the presence of DPs in clausal scope positions. For convenience, we follow May (1985, 1989) and assume that a scope position is a position adjoined to a clause [SDPiS]. In these cases, the embedded...

    • 3 NEG Raising
      (pp. 17-28)

      This study of Classical NR should be understood against a background assumption aboutnegative 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 from the NPI. Such a view contrasts radically with the range of consensus views about NPIs.

      Consider a standard NPI example likeeverin (1b):

      (1) a. *Chloe ever tasted beer.

      b. Chloe did not ever taste beer.

      On the standard view, becauseeveris an NPI, it can only occur in contexts where it...

    • 4 Reversals
      (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 straightforward account of the relations between pairs like (5a,b) of chapter 3, repeated here:

      (1) a. I saw no widow.

      b. I didn’t see any widow.

      As discussed in chapter 3, providing the object DPs in such pairs with the same underlying structure accounts for their semantic equivalence, while analyzing (1b) in terms of NEG raising and the SOME →anymapping...

    • 5 NEG Raising from Scope Positions
      (pp. 45-48)

      In the previous chapter, we argued that NEG raises away from a negative quantificational DP, giving rise to such structures as (1b):

      (1) a. I didn’t say anything.

      b. I did NEG₁ say [[< NEG₁> SOME] thing]

      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 occupies a scope position as well as the object position, and we...

    • 6 Polyadic Quantification
      (pp. 49-58)

      Consider the following ordinary standard English sentence:

      (1) No one ever showed me anything.

      Common views of course take theanyphrase here to be an NPI, licensed by the c-commandingno onephrase. And common views take a nonstandard English example like (2) (equivalent to (1)) to represent a distinct phenomenon, so-callednegative concord:

      (2) No one ever showed me nothing.

      ( x/abstract)

      See Labov 1972 for discussion of negative concord in one type of nonstandard English and Haegeman and Zanuttini 1996, Ladusaw 1996a, Déprez 1997, Giannakidou 2000, Zeijlstra 2008, and references in these works, for general discussions of...

    • 7 NEG Deletion: Case Studies
      (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 basic idea of NEG deletion is that a deleted NEG has no direct morphological realization, and so is unpronounced.

      The idea of NEG deletion is not original here but goes back at least to Klima’s (1964) analysis of Classical NR in terms of “NEG absorption” (an account sharply different from our own). Another early...

    • 8 Elements of a General Conception of NEG Deletion
      (pp. 69-78)

      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 spellednot,n’t,n-,no, andnon-. Even though the deleted NEG is not pronounced, it is visible for semantic interpretation. What follows summarizes various properties we take to be characteristic of the NDEL relation.

      The basic reflection of the NDEL relation is the following:

      (1)The NDEL Interpretation ConditionIf...

    • 9 Confounding Cases: Strict NPIs and Scope
      (pp. 79-92)

      Consider examples like (1a,b) and (2a,b):

      (1) a. Andrea doesn’t believe/think that Carl said jackshitAabout compilers.

      b. *Andrea doesn’t accept/grasp that Carl said jackshitAabout compilers.

      (2) a. No expert believes/thinks that Carl said jackshitAabout compilers.

      b. *No expert accepts/states that Carl said jackshitAabout compilers.

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

    • 10 Strict NPIs and Locality
      (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 1995, Zwarts 1998, Szabolcsi 2004:426–427, Gajewski 2007: 302) is not sufficient to account for the distribution of strict NPIs.

      We first exhibit a context that is antiadditive (hence decreasing) but nonetheless does not allow strict NPIs. Consider the following cases:

      (1) a. I didn’t find a person who ate vegetables.

      b. I...

  8. II Arguments

    • 11 Islands: Preliminaries
      (pp. 103-110)

      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.

      In this chapter, we discuss in some detail the islands resulting from clausal passivization and topicalization. In chapter 12, we will provide a somewhat more cursory survey of various other island types.

      Previous discussion (that we are aware of) of a role for island constraints in constraining Classical NR phenomena consists largely of remarks in Seuren 1974a:185, 1974b:122. There,...

    • 12 Islands: Survey
      (pp. 111-124)

      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 NR is never possible from an island. Such a generalization is especially striking for cases where all known semantic conditions on Classical NR are met (e.g., for truth predicates), but Classical NR is still not possible.

      As known since Ross’s (1967 [1986]) establishment of the notionisland, syntactic raising phenomena are subject to island constraints. Therefore, it is possible...

    • 13 Horn Clauses: Preliminaries
      (pp. 125-132)

      The examples in (1) represent standard cases of theNegative Inversionconstruction:

      (1) a. Never has he visited Madrid.

      b. They proved that never had he visited Madrid.

      c. No student did she manage to convince of that.

      d. They determined that no student had she managed to convince of that.

      e. Not every student/Not many/Few students did they convince of that.

      The most obvious characteristic of the construction is that the extracted nonwh-constituent in the clause-initial position, hereafter theNegative Inversion (NI) focus, cooccurs with subject-Aux inversion, which is obligatory, as the following examples indicate:¹

      (2) a. *Never...

    • 14 Horn Clauses: Negative Inversion
      (pp. 133-156)

      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.

      As previously indicated, Negative Inversion is characterized by the leftward displacement of a phrase, as in topicalization,wh-interrogatives, and the like, distinctively combined with obligatory subject-Aux inversion.¹ An additional, subtler characteristic of the construction is the existence of strict syntactic and semantic conditions on the type of phrase that can be fronted. These have been an issue since at least Jackendoff 1972: 364–369.

      Some researchers have appealed to a condition...

    • 15 Topicalization
      (pp. 157-162)

      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.

      In the overwhelming mass of cases, when Negative Inversion is possible for a particular phrase type, topicalization is impossible, and conversely:

      (1) a. Under no circumstances would I agree to such a plan.

      b. *Under no circumstances, I would agree to such a plan.

      (2) a. Under those circumstances, I would agree to such a plan.

      b. *Under those circumstances would I agree to such a plan....

    • 16 The Composed Quantifier Argument
      (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 quantifier phrase, like those italicized in (1b–f):

      (1) a. Graham did not expect that she would arrive until Saturday.

      b.No oneexpected that he would breathe a word about it.

      c.Not a single linguistfigured that in any sense was he anti-American.

      d.No linguistimagined that Carla had told a living soul about her father.

      e.None of usthought...

    • 17 Parentheticals
      (pp. 191-204)

      A further argument for a syntactic view of Classical NR can be based onparenthetical clauses, that is, those like the expressions italicized in (1). In particular, the argument will be based on the principles determining under what conditionsnegativeparenthetical clauses can exist.¹ ((1a,b) are from Ross 1973: 133.)

      (1) a. Max is a Martian,we realized.

      b. Frogs have souls,I realize that Osbert feels.

      c. Carmen will,Ted thinks, certainly marry Fred.

      d. Carmen will certainly,Ted thinks, marry Fred.

      e. Carmen will certainly marry Fred,Ted thinks.

      We restrict attention throughout to declarative parentheticals like those...

    • 18 Never Raising
      (pp. 205-210)

      In this chapter, we focus on a phenomenon referred to asNeverRaising. We highlight problems in a potential nonsyntactic account ofNeverRaising akin to the nonsyntactic account that we have given of Classical NR.

      The earliest recognition ofNeverRaising we are aware of is found in the following remark:

      (1) (Fillmore 1963: 220)

      “Transposition of NOT(EVER) to Main Verb (Partly Obligatory) Under certain conditions (e.g. after verbs like WANT or THINK which are themselves not negated) a NOT in the embedded sentence may be moved in front of the main verb. If NOT has been shifted, then...

    • 19 Nonfinite Clauses
      (pp. 211-216)

      In standard Classical NR cases like (1) and (2), the host is finite:

      (1) He doesn’t seem to be happy.

      (2) Ryan does not think he can leave until Friday.

      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 to illustrate English Classical NR (i.e., those not involving main clause negative quantifier DPs) has a nonfinite host. Similarly, all the Classical...

    • 20 Conclusion
      (pp. 217-220)

      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 on island facts, Horn clauses, and parenthetical clauses. Nor will we recapitulate our demonstration that the composed quantifier argument has no force against our syntactic view of Classical NR and that some of the data from that domain (islands, Horn clauses, and parentheticals) actually strongly support our syntactic view. Instead, we highlight some...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 221-248)
  10. References
    (pp. 249-258)
  11. Name Index
    (pp. 259-262)
  12. Subject Index
    (pp. 263-266)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-270)