© 2016

Irregular Negatives, Implicatures, and Idioms

  • The first accurate description of the essential features of irregular negations which also identifies new members of the class

  • Offers a new, idiomatic theoretical foundation for ‘metalinguistic’ irregular negations

  • Deploys Davis’s ‘expression theory’ of meaning (2003, 2005) to account for a range of linguistic phenomena


Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 1-50
  3. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 51-84
  4. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 85-138
  5. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 139-176
  6. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 177-208
  7. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 209-261
  8. Wayne A. Davis
    Pages 263-317

About this book


The author integrates, expands, and deepens his previous publications about irregular (or “metalinguistic”) negations.  A total of ten distinct negatives—several previously unclassified—are analyzed.  The logically irregular negations deny different implicatures of their root.  All are partially non-compositional but completely conventional.

The author argues that two of the irregular negative meanings are implicatures.  The others are semantically rather than pragmatically ambiguous.  Since their ambiguity is neither lexical nor structural, direct irregular negatives satisfy the standard definition of idioms as syntactically complex expressions whose meaning is non-compositional.  Unlike stereotypical idioms, idiomatic negatives lack fixed syntactic forms and are highly compositional.  The final chapter analyzes other “free form” idioms, including irregular interrogatives and comparatives, self-restricted verb phrases, numerical verb phrases, and transparent propositional attitude and speech act reports.


Cardinal Numbers Compositionality Explicature H.P. Grice Lawrence Horn Metalinguistic Negation Relevance Theory

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Irregular Negatives, Implicatures, and Idioms
  • Authors Wayne A. Davis
  • Series Title Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-94-017-7544-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-024-1376-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-017-7546-5
  • Series ISSN 2214-3807
  • Series E-ISSN 2214-3815
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 317
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Semantics
    Philosophy of Language
  • Buy this book on publisher's site