Negative events in compositional semantics
Timothée Bernard, Lucas Champollion
November 2018

Negative events have been used in analyses of various natural language phenomena such as negative perception reports and negative causation, but their conceptual and logical foundations remain ill-understood. We propose that linguistic negation denotes a function Neg, which sends any set of events P to a set Neg(P) that contains all events which preclude every event in P from being actual. An axiom ensures that any event in Neg(P) is actual if and only if no event in P is. This allows us to construe the events in Neg(P) as negative, “anti-P”, events. We present a syntax-semantics interface that uses continuations to resolve scope mismatches between subject and verb phrase negation, and a fragment of English that accounts for the interaction of negation, the perception verb "see", finite and nonfinite perception reports, and quantified subjects, as well as negative causation.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004344
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of SALT 28: 512-532, 2018
keywords: negative events, negation, event semantics, syntax-semantics interface, compositional semantics, continuations, perception reports, negative causation, semantics
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