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Lecture 18

LING 1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Polarity Item, Logical Consequence


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LING 1
Professor
Sportiche Dominique
Lecture
18

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031116 (Lecture 6.2)
Meaning II: Entailment
A Puzzle: Negative Polarity Items
a. Lucy will not like Snoopy at all
b. *Lucy will like Snoopy at all
c. *Lucy will definitely like Snoopy at all
d. *Lucy will probably like Snoopy at all
vs
a. No one will like Snoopy at all
b. *Someone will like Snoopy at all
Hypothesis 1: If a negative polarity item (NPI) appears in a sentence, this sentence must also
contain a negative element
BAD:
a. *Charlie will believe at all that lucy will not like Snoopy
b. *Charlie will believe at all that nobody will like Snoopy
Hypothesis 2: If a negative polarity item (NPI) appears in a sentence, this sentence must also
contain a negative element that must come first, before the NPI.
Hypothesis 1 is correct if hypothesis 2 is correct. But is hypothesis 2 says more about English.
Is it good tho?? No.
Linguistic rules depend on structure and not preceding/before/after
BAD:
a. *People who do not think like Snoopy at all
Hypothesis 3: A sentence containing a NPI is grammatical only if the NPI is inside the negative
element’s sister
GOOD:
a. *People who do not think like Snoopy at all
BAD:
a. Less than 5 students like Snoopy at all
b. Every student who like Snoopy at all will enjoy this example
Because there is no negation but yet is acceptable
Sentences have truth conditions
Different sentences can have the same or different truth conditions, accidentally and not
Accidentally:
We are in Broad
We are fewer than 200 ppl in here
But if 200 ppl walk in, only the first will remain true
Not accidentally
Claire and Edwin are in Singapore (p)
Edwin is in Singapore (q)
In every conceivable condition, if p is true then q is true
This is said as: p entails q
The entailed proposition is less informative than the entailing proposition
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