Events under Negation

  • Andreas Späth
  • Martin Trautwein


The paper centers on the problem of how the event role of verbs interacts with sentence negation. We investigate the behavior of sentence negation in the syntax-semantics mapping, placing special focus on the influence of sentence negation on the readings of DPs and its contribution to the truth-conditions of sentence meaning. We claim that the readings of DPs and their status of being presuppositional depend on the syntactic position of the DPs relative to a possible sentencenegation operator. Furthermore, we present a few examples, proving how, under the same structural preconditions, sentence negation has an impact on the aspectual reference of event descriptions and temporal modificaton. The observations made lead us to locating sentence negation at a fixed syntactical position immediately above the focus domain, thereby excluding that natural language grammaticalizes an equivalent to the sentence-external negation of Propositional Logic. Concluding on these assumptions, we discuss some logical, ontological, and compositional prerequisites that reveal the problems raised by internal negation. A formal approach to the syntaxsemantics mapping finally demonstrates how sentence negation can be compositionally realized within the scope of the existential binding of the event argument, and how this solution interacts with the referential status of DPs and event descriptions.
How to Cite
Späth, A., & Trautwein, M. (2019). Events under Negation. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 7, 295-309.