Negation: theoretical and empirical investigations

December 18th and 19th 2014, Barcelona (Residència d'Investigadors)

In this workshop we aim at bringing together researchers in the field of negation, from the perspective of both theoretical and experimental linguistics. Some of the topics on which we would like to focus in this workshop are the following:

  1.  How many types of negative expressions are there in natural languages?

  2. What is the difference between negative quantifiers, n-words and negative polarity items? Is their distribution unrestricted? How should they be formally characterized?

  3. To what extent can different types of negative expressions interact with focus?

  4. What sort of diachronic changes have been observed in the history of negation and in the evolution of negative expressions in various natural languages?

  5. Are there any macroparametric distinctions to be made concerning the expression of negation in natural languages? Should they be translated into microparametric terms?

  6. What is the status of the division between Negative Concord (NC) and Double Negation (DN) languages, or between truth-based and polarity-based languages?

  7. What does it mean for a language to be a member of the NC class? What are the implications and predictions?

  8. Can a language of the NC type allow DN interpretations within the limits of a single clause?

  9. How can empirical investigations on the expression and interpretation of negation help to support specific theories on the theory of negation?

  10. Should the semantics of negative questions be different from the semantics of their positive counterparts?

  11. What is the status of expletive negation in the theory of language? Should expletiveness be distinguished from optionality?

  12. To what extent the interpretation of negative expressions is dependent on the interaction between various systems of language and cognition, such as syntax, prosody and gesture?