Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-1588
  • E-ISSN: 2589-1596
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This contribution addresses the issue of one of the instances of non-standard negation, the so-called expletive negation (EN). Though it discusses data from a variety of languages, it mainly concentrates on Italian, proposing that the behavior of EN in comparative, exclamative and temporal clauses warrants an analysis of EN in terms of an operator of implicature denial. This approach derives the fact that EN is truth-conditionally irrelevant from the fact that the semantics of negation as a truth-value reversal operator is shifted, in the case of EN, to the layer of implicated meaning. The analysis has a number of interesting consequences for the notion of metalinguistic negation. It further derives many of the interpretive effects normally linked to the so-called evaluative analysis of EN, and is compatible with a new set of data showing that EN scopally interacts with other negative elements. Finally, the proposal advanced here has a number of non-trivial implications regarding the relation between morphosyntax and the systems of interpretation, potentially affecting the standard view of language within cognition.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Anscombe, G. E. M.
    (1964) Before and After. The Philosophical Review73(1), 3–24. 10.2307/2183199
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2183199 [Google Scholar]
  2. Brown, S. & S. Franks
    (1995) Asymmetries in the scope of Russian Negation. Journal of Slavic Linguistics3, 239–287.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Collins, C. & P. M. Postal
    (2015) Classical neg-raising. An essay on the syntax of negation. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Delfitto, D.
    (2013) Negation as a low scope-marker in German bevor-clauses. Lingue e linguaggio12(1), 73–88.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Delfitto, D. and G. Fiorin
    (2014) Negation in exclamatives. Studia Linguistica68, 284–327. 10.1111/stul.12024
    https://doi.org/10.1111/stul.12024 [Google Scholar]
  6. Del Prete, F.
    (2006) The semantics of the Italian temporal conjunctions Prima (before) and Dopo (after). Ph.D. dissertation: University of Milan.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Déprez, V., S. Tubau, A. Cheylus, & M. T. Espinal
    (2015) Double Negation in a Negative Concord Language: An Experimental Investigation. Lingua163, 75–107. 10.1016/j.lingua.2015.05.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2015.05.012 [Google Scholar]
  8. De Swart, H.
    (2010) Expression and interpretation of negation. Dordrecht: Springer. 10.1007/978‑90‑481‑3162‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-3162-4 [Google Scholar]
  9. Donati, C.
    (2000) A note on negation in comparison. Quaderni del Dipartimento di Linguistica – Università di Firenze10, 55–68.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Espinal, M. T.
    (1997) Non-negative negation and wh-exclamatives. InD. Forget, P. Hirschbühler, F. Martineau, & M. L. Rivero (Eds.), Negation and polarity. Syntax and Semantics (pp.75–93). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.155.05esp
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.155.05esp [Google Scholar]
  11. (2000) Expletive negation, negative concord and feature checking. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics8, 47–69.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Giannakidou, A.
    (2006) N-words and negative concord. InH. van Riemsdijk (Eds.). The syntax companion (pp.327–391). Oxford: Blackwell. 10.1002/9780470996591.ch45
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470996591.ch45 [Google Scholar]
  13. Greco, M.
    (2017) Surprise Negation Sentences: expletive negation and the left periphery. Ph.D. dissertation: University Vita-Salute San Raffaele – IUSS Pavia.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Higginbotham, J.
    (1988) Is Semantics Necessary?Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society87, 219–241. 10.1093/aristotelian/88.1.219
    https://doi.org/10.1093/aristotelian/88.1.219 [Google Scholar]
  15. Horn, L.
    (1989) A natural history of negation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (2010) (ed.). The expression of negation. Berlin, New York, NY: de Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110219302
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110219302 [Google Scholar]
  17. Jabónska, P.
    (2003) Quirky n-words in Polish: NPIs, Negative Quantifiers or neither?InA. Dahl, K. Bentzen, and P. Svenonius (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics31.1 (pp.132–149).
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Jespersen, O.
    (1917) Negation in English and other languages. Copenhagen: A. F. Høst.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Kaup, B., J. Lüdtke, & R. A. Zwaan
    (2007) The experiential view of language comprehension: How is negation represented?InF. Schmalhofer & C. A. Perfetti (Eds.), Higher level language processes in the brain. Inference and comprehension processes (pp.255–288). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Krifka, M.
    (2010) How to interpret “expletive” negation under bevor in German. InT. Hanneforth & G. Fanselow (Eds.), Language and Logos. Studies in Theoretical and Computational Linguistics (pp.214–236). Berlin: Akademie Verlag. 10.1524/9783050062365.214
    https://doi.org/10.1524/9783050062365.214 [Google Scholar]
  21. Ladusaw, B.
    (1992) Expressing negation. InC. Barker & D. Dowty (Eds.), Proceedings of SALT II (pp.237–259). Cornell, NY: Cornell Linguistic Circle.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Laka, I.
    (1990) Negation in Syntax: On the Nature of Functional Categories and Projections. Ph.D. Dissertation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  23. Moeschler, J.
    (2018) A set of semantic and pragmatic criteria for descriptive vs. metalinguistic negation. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics3(1), 58. doi:  10.5334/gjgl.439
    https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.439 [Google Scholar]
  24. Muller, C.
    (1978) La négation explétive dans les constructions complétives. Langue Français39, 76–103. 10.3406/lfr.1978.6129
    https://doi.org/10.3406/lfr.1978.6129 [Google Scholar]
  25. Potts, C.
    (2005) The Logic of Conventional Implicature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. (2011) On the negativity of negation. InN. Li & D. Lutz (Eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory20 (pp.636–659). Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Scappini, M., F. Vespignani, S. Savazzi, C. Marzi, & D. Delfitto
    (2015) On the non-incremental processing of negation: A pragmatically licensed sentence-picture verification study with Italian (dyslexic) adults. Nouveaux cahiers de linguistique française32, 45–58.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Seuren, P. A. M.
    (1974) Negative’s travels. InP. A. M. Seuren (Ed.), Semantic syntax (pp.96–122). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Squartini, M.
    (2017) Italian non-canonical negations as modal particles: information state, polarity and mirativity. InC. Fedriani & A. Sansò (Eds.), Pragmatic Markers, Discourse Markers and Modal Particles: New Perspectives (pp.203–229). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.186.08squ
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.186.08squ [Google Scholar]
  30. von Stutterheim, C. & W. Klein
    (1989) Referential movement in descriptive and narrative discourse. InR. Dietrich & C. F. Graumann (Eds.), Language processing in social context (pp.39–76). Amsterdam: North Holland. 10.1016/B978‑0‑444‑87144‑2.50005‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-87144-2.50005-7 [Google Scholar]
  31. Wilson, D. & D. Sperber
    (2004) Relevance theory. InL. Horn & G. Ward (Eds.), Handbook of Pragmatics (pp.607–632). Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Yoon, S.
    (2011) “Not” in the mood: The syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of evaluative negation. Ph.D. dissertation: University of Chicago.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Zanuttini, R.
    (1997) Negation and Clausal Structure: A Comparative Study of Romance Languages. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Zanuttini, R. & P. Portner
    (2000) The characterization of exclamatives clauses in Paduan. Language76, 123–132. 10.1353/lan.2000.0147
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2000.0147 [Google Scholar]
  35. Zeijlstra, H.
    (2004) Sentential Negation and Negative Concord. Ph.D. Dissertation: University of Amsterdam.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error