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Auteur: Chungmin LEE

Metalinguistically Negated vs Descriptively Negated Adverbials

Abstract/Résumé: Metalinguistic negation (MN) is more marked than descriptive negation (DN), although DN itself is more marked than its positive counterpart. The latter thesis is reported to have been supported by psycho-linguistic experiments (Horn 1989 a.o.) but the former one has not been supported empirically. This presentation aims to show that MN is more marked than DN in terms of phonetic prominence and EEG experiment results. The associated data employed are metalinguistically negated vs descriptively negated degree adverbials in English and Korean. The type of degree adverbials with MN vs. DN such as (1) vs (2) show a striking contrast in phonetic prominence. (1) She is not A LITTLE/A BIT upset. (She is VERY upset.) cf. Bolinger (1972) (2) She is not a little/a bit upset. (She is not upset at all, is quite composed.) The MN sentence in (1) objects to its low degree scalar meaning in a relevant scale (to assert a rectified higher degree). The rectifying second S cannot start with the concessive But. (2), in contrast, is a DN sentence with a covert even before the minimizer a little/a bit, yielding universal negation as if it were a negative polarity item (Y. Lee and Horn 1994). The type of adverbials such as POthong ‘normally’ in Korean are argued to be based on MN that licenses them in a long-form (external) negation, see: (3) ku yeca POthong yeppu-ci anh-e ‘She is not COMMONLY pretty.’ (She is VERY pretty.) The MN-licensed adverbials A LITTLE/A BIT and POthong ‘normally’ have stressed syllables originating from contrastive focus and convey implicated positive higher degree adverbials/predicates. Phonetic experiments conducted (C. Lee 2010) show a sharp contrast between MN- vs DN-licensed adverbials by pitch tracts and we expect to further conduct an EEG test to see covert cognitive processes involved in MN and DN distinction via the brain activity.