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A workshop (AG) organized as part of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the German Linguistics Society (DGfS) in Freiburg, 24-26 Febuary 2021.

Empirical approaches to canonical and non-canonical uses of negation



Katharina Schaebbicke
Heiko Seeliger


Invited speakers:

Carolin Dudschig
Hedde Zeijlstra


Date & location:

43rd Annual Meeting of the German Linguistics Society (DGfS)
24-26 Febuary 2021, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany


Workshop description

At first glance, negation seems to be a straightforward phenomenon: negating a sentence is as simple as embedding a proposition under a negation operator and thus reversing its truth value. A closer look at the phenomenon of negation, however, reveals a vast field of negation-related phenomena, not all of which can be captured by truth-functional meaning. Non-canonical uses of negation include, for example, metalinguistic negation and expletive negation. The topic of negation has been studied extensively from a theoretical perspective. We are, however, only beginning to understand the particular characteristics of non-canonical negation. Furthermore, there seems to be a gap when it comes to evaluating theoretical models of negation empirically. The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers who work on different uses of nega­tion, and who focus on quantitative methods to study canonical as well as non-canonical uses of negation. Employing corpus evidence and experimental methods to re-evaluate current mod­els of negation-related phenomena should help us refine those models and gain a deeper under­standing of the function of negation in grammar.

The areas of research that this workshop focuses on include, but are not limited to, empirical approaches to propositional and non-propositional negation, the function of negation in differ­ent speech acts (in questions vs. assertions, for example), the contribution of negation to bias in questions, the interaction of negative polarity items and negative questions, the syntax of nega­tion, and the function and cross-linguistic distribution of high negation in polar questions.

In order to get a comprehensive view on negation – both concerning its grammar, and concern­ing the processing of negation –, we invite researchers who work on negation from the perspective of semantics, pragmatics, (morpho)syntax, phonology, and psycholinguistics to contribute to bridging the gap between theory and empirical models in negation-related phenomena.


The program of the workshop can be accessed here: