Linguistics colloquium: Ariel Cohen

14/06/2016 - 14:00 - 15:30

Ariel Cohen, Ben Gurion University

Title: A Natural Prehistory of Negation

Abstract: Truth functional negation, despite being a universal category, is quite a difficult notion. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of negation is that it is not veridical: its essence is talk about what is not the case. 

The development of non-veridical concepts and their expression must have been an important milestone in the evolution of human cognition and language. Given the difficulty of the concept, it is implausible to expect that negation emerged “from scratch”; I propose, therefore, that negation had a precursor of some form in protolanguage.

In this talk I discuss the plausible properties of proto-negation, and suggest parallels between proto-negation, quasi-negatives in current languages, and attenuating monkey calls.


Building 403 room 101