LINGUIST List 9.1143

Mon Aug 17 1998

Books: Semantics / Syntax

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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  1. Rebecca Wipfler, Semantics / Syntax-Semantics Interface

Message 1: Semantics / Syntax-Semantics Interface

Date: 13 Aug 98 10:04:24 -0500
From: Rebecca Wipfler <>
Subject: Semantics / Syntax-Semantics Interface

Tovena, Lucia M.; The Fine Structure of Polarity Sensitivity;
0-8153-3133-9, cloth; pages, $71; Garland Publishing; Outstanding
Dissertations in Linguistics

	This study investigates the phenomenon of polarity
sensitivity, proposing a new perspective which focuses on the behavior
and properties of sensitive items and the phrases they form. It rests
on the observation that the complexity of the phenomenon requires a
more articulated analysis than the standard one based on licensing
conditions. The study adopts a broader notion of sensitivity, which
extends beyond the traditional one restricted to polarity. It includes
other factors which are defined in relation to the semantics of the
sensitive items. As a result, the attention is centered on the web of
interactions the item entertains with its context of occurrence,
rather than on polarity licensing conditions. These items are not
lexical black boxes, mutually undistinguishable with respect to
polarity licensing. The study shows that the distribution and
interpretation of these items follow from constraints related to the
properties of their semantic domain. Aspect and temporal order are
crucial factors for sensitive temporal connectives and adverbials,
while referential links and existential import matter for
determiners. Analogies and differences with other phenomena related to
negation, e.g. negative concord, are discussed. The volume also
contains an extensive critical overview of research on the topic in
the past thirty years. This book will be of interest to scholars in
the area of semantics, syntax and their interface. It also points to
various important themes in pragmatics and cognitive science, e.g. the
role of context and reference, and the notion of interpretation

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1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • MIT Press--Books Division
  • MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter