Project B04 "Negative scope mismatches in coordination"

Principal investigators: Prof. Katharina Hartmann & Prof. Hedde Zeijlstra

This project investigates scope interactions of coordination and negation. We investigate instances of “negative coordination” where a negating element precedes the conjoined or disjoined structure interacting with the coordinator with respect to scope. More concretely, we look at various coordinated structures where scope interactions can be observed. First, we consider data as discussed in Szabolcsi & Haddican (2004). The authors investigate sentences where a negation c-commands a coordinated DP and where languages appear to differ with respect to scope of the coordinator (conjunction and disjunction), which in some languages can outscope the negation in apparent violation of the De Morgan laws. We will extend the language sample discussed in Szabolcsi & Haddican (2004) and consider not only further European intonation languages but also West African tone languages. By doing this, we expect to develop a new perspective on the various theories that have been proposed. The second data set that we consider in this project includes Gapping sentences where negation in the first conjunct may or may not scope over the second conjunct, as discussed by Repp (2009). We will investigate whether these different interpretations - in a single language, but also cross-linguistically - correlate with the different scope mismatches observed in the first part of the project. The third part of the project investigates coordinated sentences without ellipsis where negation within the first conjunct has the option to take scope over the second conjunct. This observation suggests that the principles as formulated for Gapping by Repp (2009) might not be restricted to elliptical sentences.

In sum, the main research question of this project concerns identifying the source of the scope mismatches between negation and the coordinator in various coordination constructions. The central question of the project is whether these mismatches are caused by the negation (along the lines of the Neg-Plus hypothesis), the coordinator (along the lines of the Neg-Only Hypothesis), or a combination of both. Hence, we directly address the main research question of area B of the CRS:

QB How can we explain similarities and interactions between negation and other grammatical categories?

The specific questions that this project aims to answer are: (i) What triggers apparent scope mismatches in negative coordination? (ii) Do languages exhibit cross-linguistic variation in this domain? (iii) To what extent are those scope mismatches (anti-)licensed by stress, focus or other grammatical effects? Any theory will have to consider multiple, interacting components, thus addressing the Negation Paradox. In the second and third funding periods, we will also look at related phenomena (such as constructions like neithernor) and extend the typological basis.