« Two thesis defenses on scalar inference coming up | Main | Next Experimental Pragmatics Meeting »

February 20, 2007

Negations

Experimental Pragmatics is not just about "scalars" (terms like Some, or, might etc.) It concerns a host of issues like metaphor, prosody, ambiguity, and reference, to name a few. Here is a recently published article on negations from Hasson & Glucksberg (Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2006, Pages 1015-1032), which merits attention.

Here is the abstract:

How do people understand negated assertions? Negation may function like affirmation if it focuses on the counterfactual situation, i.e., the situation ruled out by the statement. Alternatively, negation could shift focus from the counterfactual to the factual situation referred to in the statement. We tested these hypotheses in a study employing a lexical decision task. Participants read affirmative and negated assertions such as this lawyer is/is not a shark and then made lexical decisions to terms related either to the affirmative or negative meaning (e.g., vicious; gentle). In early stages of comprehension, both the negated and affirmative assertions facilitated the accessibility of affirmative-related terms. After 1000 ms, the affirmative assertions continued to facilitate affirmative-related terms, but the negated assertions no longer did so. These results suggest that negations are initially represented as affirmation. We discuss implications for current theories of negation.

Posted by ira at February 20, 2007 11:34 AM

Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?