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Dynamic Pragmatic View of Negation Processing

  • Ye TianEmail author
  • Richard Breheny
Chapter
Part of the Language, Cognition, and Mind book series (LCAM, volume 1)

Abstract

Many psycholinguistic studies have found that processing negative sentences is difficult, and often involves the representation of the positive argument. Current rejection accounts suggest that processing the positive argument is the mandatory first step of negation processing, and the difficulty of negation comes from the extra step of embedding. We argue for a dynamic pragmatic view, suggesting that even when processing a sentence without context, comprehenders retrieve contextual information such as its Question Under Discussion (QUD), using linguistic cues. Without supporting context, negation acts as a cue for retrieving and accommodating the most prominent QUD, where the truth of the positive counterpart is at issue. QUD accommodation happens incrementally and automatically, which triggers the representation of the positive argument and contributes to the extra processing cost related to negation.

Keywords

Negation Question under discussion Pragmatics Semantics Sentence processing 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.University College LondonLondonUK

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