Logic and Language

Ciyang Qing: Neg-raising and responsivity

Speaker: Ciyang Qing
Title: Neg-raising and responsivity
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Online, via Zoom

To join the meeting, click https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/85733719938.



Some clause-embedding predicates can only take declarative complements, e.g., Alice believes that/*whether Bob is in Amsterdam, some can only take interrogative complements, e.g., Alice wonders whether/*that Bob is in Amsterdam, and some (which are called responsive predicates) can take both, e.g., Alice knows that/whether Bob is in Amsterdam. An important question is to understand how the meaning of a clause-embedding predicate is related to whether it is compatible with different clause types. In the literature, various semantic properties have been observed to relate to compatibility with interrogative complements. However, most of the previous accounts only consider a small set of paradigmatic clause-embedding predicates.


Recently, White (2021) uses large-scale datasets of acceptability judgments and corpus evidence to challenge some of the empirical generalizations in the literature regarding the relation between various semantic properties and the compatibility with interrogative complements. For instance, neg-raising predicates, such as think (e.g., Alice doesn't think that Bob is in Amsterdam is usually taken to mean the same as Alice thinks that Bob is not in Amsterdam)have been assumed in the literature to be incompatible with interrogative complements (e.g., *Alice thinks whether Bob is in Amsterdam), which is challenged by White (2021). In this talk, I will review White's arguments against the existing empirical generalization regarding the relation between neg-raising and compatibility with interrogative complements, discuss further potential counterexamples, and suggest possible ways to refine the existing empirical generalization.


(This talk is based on joint work with Kaj Meijer and Floris Roelofsen.)