Linguistics Colloquium: Galit Agmon

05/03/2019 - 14:00 - 15:30

Galit Agmon, Hebrew University

Ttile: Negative Polarity

Abstract: Negative polarity is a prevalent phenomenon across linguistic types, such as quantifiers (e.g. few, less than half) or adjectives (e.g. small, low, ugly). However, it is not clear there is a unified definition that classifies all these instantiations as "negative" for the same reason. In quantifiers, negative polarity was discussed as a result of their logical properties or their pragmatic properties. In adjectives, negative polarity is defined as passing certain tests of markedness. Then in what sense of "negativity" are negative adjective similar to negative quantifiers? And do they relate to sentential negation (not)?

In this talk I will discuss the different perspectives on negative polarity, and present experimental data on the processing costs of negative polarity across linguistic types - quantifiers, adjectives and sentential negation. The experimental data supports a view that negative polarity is not a unitary phenomenon but rather a complex one, with different sources that uniquely contribute to the measured processing cost.


Place: Building 507 room 106


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