On the Truth Conditional Potential of Negations


  • Andreas Späth




According to Partee (1991) and Hajicova/Partee/Sgall (1998), the meaning of natural language sentences corresponds to the tripartite structure. Scope relations within the sentence meaning may effect different readings of DPs. The essential point is the syntactic position of a DP relative to the position of the (possible) sentence negation. It can be shown that the scope of negation coincides with the domain of prosodic focus. The semantic counterpart of focus is the critical meaning of the sentence or - speaking with Roberts (1996) - its partial answer. Scope relations within the sentence yield complex, nested function-argument structures. The resultant operations mapping properties onto individuals mark the structural precondition for DP-readings, e.g. for the specific reading of indefinite DPs. The presentation regards German data as well as data from Czech, which has no overt article system. The movement of DPs out of the prosodically unmarked focus, i.e. the focus of new information, results in the specific DP-reading, at least in the reading of the DP as an individual term: Petr si autoi koupil ti 'Peter cari bought ti' (= Peter bought the car). The presentation illuminates the semantic composition of sentence meaning with respect to ist interaction with the lexical, prosodic, and syntactic level.




How to Cite

Späth, A. (2019). On the Truth Conditional Potential of Negations. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 6, 325–341. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2002.v6i0.835

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