Linguistics colloquium: Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal

10/11/2015 - 14:00 - 15:30

Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal
The Hebrew University

Title: A ambiguist approach for negation - Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal

Abstract: Throughout the 20th century it was repeatedly discussed to what extent negation constitutes a unified phenomenon. There are two main tenants: the monoguist and the ambiguist approaches (following Horn's 1985, 2001 terminology). According to the monoguist approach there is one basic semantics for all appearances of the negator. Thus, negation in natural languages can be captured exhaustively as the expression of the connective of negation in classical logic. In contrast, adherents of the ambiguist approach come in various flavors (see Horn 1985, 2001). Some argue that it is better to speak about more than one connectives, with different truth tables (inter alia Bochvar 1981 [1938]), or about various functions (semantic or pragmatic) expressed by the morphology of negation (inter alia Ladusaw 1979 Karttunen & Peeters 1979).

In my paper I will argue for an ambiguist approach. Accordingly, there are two types of negation: internal negation and external negation. While previous ambiguist approaches focused on either different truth tables (inter alia Bochvar 1981 [1938]) or on the discursive status of the root proposition (inter alia Horn 1985, 2001), I would like to propose an ambiguist approach according to which natural languages have two types of negation, different in their nature: one is a type of information and the other is the negative connective, as defined in classical logic.