LINGUIST List 8.532

Thu Apr 17 1997

Books: Theoretical Syntax

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

Additional information on the following books, as well as a short backlist of the publisher's titles, may be available from the Listserv. Instructions for retrieving publishers' backlists appear at the end of this issue.


  1. Kristi Long, New Book-Theoretical Syntax

Message 1: New Book-Theoretical Syntax

Date: 16 Apr 97 14:27:09 +0100
From: Kristi Long <>
Subject: New Book-Theoretical Syntax


Paolo Aquaviva; The Logical Form of Negation:A Study of Operator-
Variable Structures in Syntax; 0-8153-2845-1, cloth; 336 pages, $67;
Garland Publishing; Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics

The Logical Form of Negation offers a unified analysis of the syntax
of negation which reinterprets the results of much recent research by
tying in a strictly syntactic account with its necessary semantic
underpinnings. Couched in the Principles and Parameters framework, the
analysis begins by highlighting some problematic aspects for
contemporary approaches based on the Negative Criterion, a condition
requiring negative elements to appear in specifier-head relation by
the level of Logical Form. These shortcomings are overcome by the
simple and semantically well-motivated view that negative
'quantifiers' are in fact indefinites bound by a negated existential
operator. More precisely, negation provides a Boolean negative
connective which is attached to the existential closure operator; the
resulting negated existential binds the event variable associated with
the verb, and possibly one or more indefinites. Negative 'quantifiers'
are like indefinites (including polarity items) in being bound by an
operator through unselective Binding; however, their featural
characterization (often morphologically expressed) imposes the tighter
locality constraint of Government by the operator. As a result, the
proposed analysis can account for some apparently problematic issues
for alternative approaches, such as the licensing of preverbal
negative subjects, asymmetries of negation in reason adverbials, and
the behavior of negatives in donkey-sentences. The interpretive format
argued for also warrants a unified analysis for languages with and
without generalized negative concord. What is more, the same analysis
can be extended to cover the syntax of so-called 'monotone decreasing
quantifiers', elements whose similarity with negatives has long been
recognized but never accounted for by an explicit syntactic
analysis. Finally, the distinction between non-referential indexing
and featural characterization is shown to account for some poorly
understood locality constraints on the scope of negative quantifiers,
including argument / adjunct asymmetries, specificity effects and
inverse linking.

(Ph.D. dissertation, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, 1993; revised
with new foreword, bibliography, and index)

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