Negation as a window on the non-sequential nature of language interpretation and processing

  • Denis DelfittoEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 18)


In this contribution, it is argued that the optionally realized instances of sentential negation that correspond to so-called ‘expletive’ negation in comparative and temporal clauses of Italian are essentially the same instances of ‘covert’ negation that license Free Choice ANY in English according to the theoretical framework on negation developed in Collins & Postal 2015, in which a NEG-raising analysis in terms of movement is revived, based on the presence of many covert types of negation. Expletive negation is thus in reality a logically-driven negation head, which can be optionally realized phonologically. Its special status is confirmed by the observation that, in Italian, it scopally interacts with other negative elements by giving rise not to the expected negative concord readings but to completely unexpected double negation readings. The non-sequential interpretation of negation discussed here confirms and extends a number of recent findings around non-sequential negation processing.


Expletive negation free choice ANY covert negation NEG-raising double-negation readings non-sequential processing 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cultures and CivilizationsUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly

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