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To wish or not to wish : modality and (metalinguistic) negation

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Published in Glossa : A Journal of General Linguistics. 2018, vol. 3, no. 1
Abstract This paper examines the interaction between negation and some expressions of bouletic modality. Whereas most other types of modals may scope below negation, expressions of bouletic modality in the form of hortative and optative markers never do. The distribution of high adverbials, as well as co-occurrence possibilities with a negative head, such as French ne, reveal that hortatives and optatives do not target the same position: they occupy two different heads within the left peripheral structure. However, it is argued that the syntax of the bouletic operator, which is analyzed as involving high left-peripheral positions, prevents the negative marker from syntactically and semantically scoping over it. This is shown to also correlate with access to metalinguistic negation interpretations. While with the adequate context, the bouletic operators examined here are compatible with metalinguistic negation, no wide scope interpretation above the bouletic modal content is accessible. This is exactly the contexts in which the negative head is syntactically banned. It is proposed that these observations constitute evidence for the fact that metalinguistic negation requires specific syntactic conditions, namely access to a high contrast-related position. Metalinguistic negation is obviously triggered by contextual input, but, at least in the cases examined here, is not blind to syntax.
Keywords Bouletic modalityDescriptive negationMetalinguistic negationScopeSyntax-pragmatics interface
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PUSKAS, Genoveva. To wish or not to wish : modality and (metalinguistic) negation. In: Glossa : A Journal of General Linguistics, 2018, vol. 3, n° 1. doi: 10.5334/gjgl.412 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:130092

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Deposited on : 2020-02-06

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