When Syntax Spills Over to Discourse: The Case of Not-Fragments

Dr. Bert Cappelle, University of Lille

Tue, September 10, 2019 | BUR 337

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Linguists sometimes need to conduct syntactic analyses of units larger than sentences. This is the case, for example, for clause fragments starting with not, as these need to be considered together with the preceding utterance. Some known grammatical mechanisms, such as ellipsis (or 'stripping') and insubordination, can be used to partially account for some previously described types of not-fragments, illustrated by Not that I know of and Not that it matters. However, such mechanisms are not sufficient to explain the form and function of all types we can encounter. One useful concept that to my knowledge has hitherto not been explored is what could be called 'negative expansion'. This is a discourse pattern whereby an already negative clause is followed by a negative clause fragment, whose negation is a simple repetition, rather than a cancellation, of the negation in the preceding clause.

Sponsored by: Linguisitcs Research Center, Department of Germanic Studies, and the Texas Language Center

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