Article

Negation

Laurence Horn

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0032
Negation

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
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Absent from otherwise complex systems of animal communication, negation is a sine qua non of every human language, allowing for the uniquely human capacities of denial, contradiction, misrepresentation, lying, and irony. The apparently simplex nature of logical negation as a one-place, two-valued operator toggling truth and falsity belies the profoundly complex and subtle expression of sentential and constituent negation in natural language, manifested by negative adverbs, verbs, copulas, quantifiers, and affixes and the interaction of negation with other operators (including iterations of negation itself). At the core of the mental faculty of language, negation interacts in significant ways with principles of morphology, syntax, logical form, compositional semantics, and processes of language acquisition and sentence processing, whence the prominent role played by work on negation in the recent development of theoretical and empirical linguistics.

Article.  15244 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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