Neda Todorović, Reed College

Seminar: Ling M: How vacuous is vacuous negation? (advanced)

Neda Todorović (Reed College)

In certain contexts across languages, negation can show up in a clause, without the propositional content being negated. That is, negation is there in syntax, but it seems to be vacuous in semantics. This, for example, happens in certain polar questions in Slavic (Abels 2005, Staňková 2023, Zanon 2023, Todorović 2023). This course explores the interaction of syntax and semantics of negation in those contexts. It also compares them with contexts in which the status of negation is not controversial. The aim of the course is to learn how to apply the existing syntactic and semantic diagnostics in order to figure out what the status of negation is. While we will start the explorations with Slavic, we will try to see if similar occurrences of vacuous (or not so vacuous) negation can be found elsewhere.