Analyses of Negation in English

H. Lasnik, 1972

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This thesis is an attempt to give a unified account of the syntax and semantics of negation, and in particular, of the lexical item not.  Two analyses are presented and discussed: the first providing for the deep structure occurrence of not in the specifier of adverbials and noun phrases and deep structure interpretation of the scope of negation, and the second providing for generation of not in sentence initial position and derived structure scope interpretation.  It is argued that the second analysis provides a better description of two adverbial classes that are superficially parallel but differ in significant syntactic and semantic respects.  Further, it is suggested that a comprehensive theory of scope semantics would require derived structure scope interpretive rules.  The semantics of the quantifier any are considered and Quine"s proposal that any is the universal quantifier is supported, and evidence is presented that its distribution can be predicted if it is regarded as the marked form of the universal quantifier.  Finally, the analysis of Lakoff and Carden and that of Jackendoff are considered.  The former is shown to be untenable, and the latter is shown to be unable to account for some of the phenomena discussed.

Thesis Supervisor:         Noam Chomsky

Title:                             Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Linguistics

Chapter 0         Introduction                                                                                          6

Chapter I          The Syntax of Not                                                                                9

            1          Determiner theory                                                                                 17

            2          Pre-S theory                                                                                         24

Chapter II        Some Aspects of the Semantics of Negation                                          43

            1          Scope and the determiner theory                                                           55

            2          Scope and the pre-S theory                                                                  66

            3          Syntactic and semantic rules and their ordering in the pre-S theory         82

            4          Scope, reference, and specificity                                                           90

            5          A speculation on the meaning and function of any                                   94

            6          Concluding observations                                                                       101

Chapter III       Previous Analyses                                                                                 104

            1          Lakoff and Carden                                                                               105

            2          Commentary on the derivational constraints analysis                   111

                        2.1       The stronger derivational constraint                                           120

                        2.2       Scope and island constraints                                                     128

                                    2.2a     Co-ordinate structures and missing ambiguities  131

                                    2.2b     Possessivized NP"s                                                       138

                                    2.2c     Other types of islands                                                   140

                        2.3       The derivational constraint on lowering rules                  143

                        2.4       Relative clauses and a surfeit of ambiguities                                144

            3          Jackendoff                                                                                            151