LingLang Lunch (4/26/2017): Jon Gajewski (University of Connecticut)

Jon Gajewski’s research interests are in semantics and the syntax/semantics interface. His work focuses on polarity phenomena such as Neg-raising and polarity items, as well as on comparative and superlative quantifiers. For more information, his website is here.

It’s not syntax, I don’t think: Neg-raising and parentheticals

English allows a construction in which a sentence contains a parenthetical with a clausal gap, as in (i).  I will refer to phrases such as I think in (i) as clausal parentheticals.  Typically, clausal parentheticals cannot be negative, cf. (ii).

(i) There is beer in the fridge, I think.
(ii) *There is beer in the fridge, I don’t think.

It has been noted that when the clausal parenthetical contains a Neg-raising predicate, an apparent doubling of a negation in the main clause is allowed, as in (iii).

(iii) There is no beer in the fridge, I (don’t) think.

This doubling has been taken to be an argument in favor of syntactic approaches to Neg-raising, as in Ross (1973) and Collins & Postal (2014). I will defend an analysis of the doubling in (iii) that is compatible with a semantic/pragmatic approach to Neg-raising, as in Horn 1989, Gajewski 2007, Romoli 2013.