Events

In this presentation I will exam some interactions among negation, quantifiers and ellipsis resolution. The data that I will explore come from the behavior of reverse particles, which are found in languages from different families (French, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Lebanese Arabic, Hungarian, Icelandic and perhaps others). Reverse particles are used as responses or corrections to negative sentences previously uttered. They can be either used alone or followed by a positive clause as we can see in the example from French:

(1a) A: Jean n'a     pas lu   le  livre. 
        Jean neg-aux neg read the book
        “Jean didn't read the book.”
(1b) B: Si, (il  a   lu   le   livre).
        SI,  he  aux read the  book
        “On the contrary, he read the book.”

If we want to treat solitary reverse particles by means of sentential ellipsis (ie Si, il a lu le livre “On the contrary, he read the book.”), which would account for their contextual meaning, the challenge is to show how a negative sentence (A: Jean n'a pas lu le livre “Jean didn't read the book.”) can work as an antecedent for a positive sentence. I will argue that this is possible because the identity condition controlling ellipsis can access a stage of the derivation in which negation is outside the relevant piece of structure in the antecedent clause.