Negated tautologies and copular contradictions

Interpretive strategies

In: International Review of Pragmatics
View More View Less
  • 1 UNED Madrid
  • 2 St. Petersburg State University

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€29.95$34.95

Abstract

This paper investigates utterances with the structure A is not A, showing that they can be fully informative and are felicitously used and understood in discourse. Relying on the notions of metalinguistic and metarepresentational negation, we argue that the class of utterances A is not A is heterogeneous and differs in regard to the lower-order representation under the scope of the negative operator. Specifically, we distinguish negated tautologies and copular contradictions. The understanding of negated tautologies involves identifying the corresponding affirmative deep tautology (Bulhof & Gimbel, 2001) and rejecting the assumptions derived from it. The interpretation of copular contradictions is based on distinguishing each of the occurrences of the repeated constituent as describing (a) one single referent with different properties; (b) two different referents satisfying the same description in different evaluation worlds; (c) two different referents, with different properties, which are accessed by means of the same linguistic expression.

  • Albu, Elena. 2017. Description versus rejection in the analysis of negation: Evidence from Romanian and English. Lingua 191–192: 22–41.

  • Allan, Keith. 1986. Linguistic Meaning. Vols. 1 and 2. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

  • Alxatib, Sam, Peter Pagin and Uli Sauerland. 2013. Acceptable contradictions: pragmatics or semantics? A reply to Cobreros et al. Journal of Philosophical Logic 42: 619–634.

  • Apresjan, Yuri. 1995. Konnotatsii kak chast’ pragmatiki slova [Connotations as a part of pragmatic meaning of a word]. Izbrannye trudy: V 2 t. T. II: Integral’noe opisanie yazyka i sistemnaya leksikografiya: 156–178 [Selected works: In 2 vol. Vol. II: Integrated description of language and systematic lexicography: 156–178]. Moscow: Shkola “Yazyki Russkoi Kul’tury”.

  • Autenrieth, Tania. 1997. Tautologien sind Tautologien. In E. Rolf (ed.), Pragmatik. Implikaturen und Sprechakte, 12–32. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.

  • Blochowiak, Joanna and Cristina Grisot. 2018. How context influences the processing of descriptive and metalinguistic negation. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 3: 50. Downloadable at https://www.glossa-journal.org/articles/10.5334/gjgl.440/.

  • Bulhof, Johannes and Steven Gimbel. 2001. Deep tautologies. Pragmatics and Cognition 9: 279–291.

  • Bulhof, Johannes and Steven Gimbel. 2004. A tautology is a tautology (or is it?). Journal of Pragmatics 36: 1003–1005.

  • Bulygina, Tatiana and Alexej Shmelev. 1997. Yazykovaya kontseptualizatsiya mira (na materiale russkoy grammatiki) [Linguistic conceptualization of the world (on the material of the Russian grammar)]. Moscow: Shkola “Jazyki russkoy kul’tury”.

  • Burton-Roberts, Noel. 1989. The Limits to Debate: A Revised Theory of Semantic Presupposition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Carston, Robyn. 1996. Metalinguistic negation and echoic use. Journal of Pragmatics 25: 309–330.

  • Carston, Robyn. 1999. Negation and metarepresentation: A response to Noel Burton-Roberts. Journal of Linguistics 35: 365–389.

  • Carston, Robyn. 2002. Thoughts and Utterances: The Pragmatics of Explicit Communication. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Carston, Robyn. 2016. The heterogeneity of procedural meaning. Lingua 175–176: 154–166.

  • Carston, Robyn and Eun-Ju Noh. 1996. A truth-functional account of metalinguistic negation, with evidence from Korean. Language Sciences 18: 485–504.

  • Chapman, Siobhan. 1996. Some observations on metalinguistic negation. Journal of Linguistics 32: 387–402.

  • Chierchia, Gennaro. 2013. Logic in Grammar. Polarity, Free Choice, and Intervention. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Cobreros, Pablo, Paul Egré, David Ripley and Robert van Rooij. 2012. Tolerant, classical, strict. Journal of Philosophical Logic 41: 347–385.

  • Corpus del Español [Online]. http://www.corpusdelespanol.org/

  • Davis, Wayne A. 2011. “Metalinguistic” negations, denial, and idioms. Journal of Pragmatics 43: 2548–2577.

  • Delgado Chacón, M. Alejandra. 2017. Tautologías simétricas negadas en español. Master thesis, National University of Distance Education (UNED).

  • Ducrot, Oswald. 1972. Dire et ne pas dire. Principes de sémantique linguistique. Paris: Hermann.

  • Escandell-Vidal, Victoria. 1990. Nominal tautologies in Spanish. Paper presented at the International Conference on Pragmatics (IPRA), Barcelona, Spain.

  • Escandell-Vidal, Victoria. 1991. Estrategias en la interpretación de enunciados contradictorios. In M. Ángeles Álvarez Martínez (ed.), Actas del Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Lingüística, XX Aniversario, 923–936. Madrid: Gredos.

  • Escandell-Vidal, Victoria and Manuel Leonetti. 2011. On the rigidity of procedural meaning. In V. Escandell-Vidal, M. Leonetti and A. Ahern (eds.), Procedural Meaning. Problems and Perspectives, 81–102. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.

  • Escandell-Vidal, Victoria and Elena Vilinbakhova. 2018. Coordinated tautologies in Spanish and Russian. Intercultural Pragmatics 15: 315–348.

  • Farghal, Mohamed. 1992. Colloquial Jordanian Arabic tautologies. Journal of Pragmatics 17: 223–240.

  • von Fintel, Kai. 2006. Modality and language. Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2nd ed.), 20–27. Detroit: MacMillan Reference USA.

  • von Fintel, Kai and Anthony Gillies. 2007. An opinionated guide to epistemic modality. In T.S. Gendler and J. Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology, 32–62. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Foolen, Ad. 1991. Metalinguistic negation and pragmatic ambiguity: Some comments on a proposal by Laurence Horn. Pragmatics 1: 217–237.

  • Fraser, Bruce. 1988. Motor oil is motor oil: An account of English nominal tautologies. Journal of Pragmatics 12: 215–220.

  • Geist, Ljudmila. 2007. Predication and equation in copular sentences: Russian vs. English. In I. Comorovski and K. von Heusinger (eds.), Existence: Semantics and Syntax, 79–105. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Geurts, Bart. 1998. The mechanisms of denial. Language 74: 274–307.

  • Gibbs, Raymond W. and Nancy S. McCarrell. 1990. Why boys will be boys and girls will be girls: Understanding colloquial tautologies. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 19: 125–145.

  • Giora, Rachel. 2007. On the accessibility of negated concepts. In I. Kecskes and L.R. Horn (eds.), Explorations in Pragmatics: Linguistic, Cognitive and Intercultural Aspects, 135–147. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Grice, Paul. 1975. Logic and conversation. In P. Cole and J.L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts, 41–58. New York: Academic Press.

  • Hintikka, Jaakko. 1962. Cogito ergo sum: Inference or performance? Philosophical Review 71: 5–42.

  • Horn, Laurence R. 1981. A pragmatic approach to certain ambiguities. Linguistics and Philosophy 4: 321–358.

  • Horn, Laurence R. 1985. Metalinguistic negation and pragmatic ambiguity. Language 61: 121–174.

  • Horn, Laurence. 1989. A Natural History of Negation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Horn, Laurence and Heinrich Wansing. 2015. Negation. In E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Downloadable at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/negation/

  • Hans, Kamp and Barbara Partee. 1995. Prototype theory and compositionality. Cognition 57: 129–191.

  • Kratzer, Angelika. 1991. Modality. In A. von Stechow and D. Wunderlich (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Contemporary Research, 639–650. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Kripke, Saul A. 1972. Naming and necessity. In D. Davidson and G. Harman (eds.), Semantics of Natural Language, 763–769. Dordrecht: Reidel.

  • Kwon, Iksoo. 2014. Categorization and its embodiment: Korean tautological constructions in mental spaces theory. Language Sciences 45: 44–55.

  • Larrivée, Pierre. Metalinguistic negation from an informational perspective. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 3: 50. Downloadable at https://www.glossa-journal.org/articles/10.5334/gjgl.403/.

  • Levinson, Steven. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Levinson, Steven. 2000. Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  • Li, Xiaoshi. 2004. A contrastive study of tautology between Chinese and English. Intercultural Communication StudiesXIII: 171–180.

  • Lyons, John. 1977. Semantics. Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Macmillan, Malcolm B. 2000. An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  • McCawley, James. 1991. Contrastive negation and metalinguistic negation. Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS) 27: 189–206.

  • Meibauer, Jörg. 2008. Tautology as presumptive meaning. Pragmatics and Cognition 16: 439–470.

  • Miki, Etsuzo. 1996. Evocation and tautologies. Journal of Pragmatics 25: 635–648.

  • Mikkelsen, Line. 2005. Copular Clauses. Specification, Predication and Equation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Mikkelsen, Line. 2011. Copular clauses. In K. von Heusinger, C. Maienborn and P. Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning 2, 1805–1829. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Moeschler, Jacques. 2010. Negation, scope and the descriptive/metalinguistic distinction. Generative Grammar in Geneva 6: 29–48.

  • Moeschler, Jacques. 2013. How ‘logical’ are logical words? Negation and its descriptive vs. metalinguistic uses. In M. Taboada and R. Trnavac (eds.), Nonveridicality, Evaluation and Coherence Relations, 76–110. Leiden: Brill.

  • Moeschler, Jacques. 2018. A set of semantic and pragmatic criteria for descriptive vs. metalinguistic negation. Glossa: A journal of General Linguistics 3: 50. Downloadable at https://www.glossa-journal.org/articles/10.5334/gjgl.439/.

  • Nikolina Natalia. 1984. Strukturno-semanticheskie osobennosti predlozhenij tipa “Zhizn’ est’ zhizn”. [Structural-semantic features of sentences of the type “Life is life”]. Predlozhenie kak mnogoaspektnaya edinica yazyka [Sentence as a multiaspectual language unit], 38–46. Moscow: MGPI Publishing.

  • Noh, Eun-Ju. 1998. The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metarepresentations in English: A Relevance Theoretic Approach. PhD dissertation, University College London.

  • Noh, Eun-Ju. 2000. Metarepresentation. A Relevance-Theory Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Noh, Eun-Ju, Sungryong, Koh and Si On, Yoon. 2012. The markedness of metalinguistic negation: An eye-tracking study. Korean Journal of Linguistics 37: 325–343.

  • Noh, Eun-Ju, Hyeree Choo and Sungryong Koh. 2013. Processing metalinguistic negation: Evidence from eyetracking experiments. Journal of Pragmatics 57: 1–18.

  • Okamoto, Shigeko. 1993. Nominal repetitive constructions in Japanese: The tautology controversy revisited. Journal of Pragmatics 20: 433–466.

  • Oxford English Dictionary [Online]. http://www.oed.com/.

  • Paducheva, Elena. 2004. Dinamicheskie modeli v semantike leksiki. [Dynamic models in lexical semantics]. Moscow: Jazyki Slavyanskoi Kul’tury.

  • Partee, Barbara Hall. 2010. Specificational copular sentences in Russian and English. In A. Grønn and I. Marijanovic (eds.), Russian in Contrast, Oslo Studies in Language 2(1), 25–49. Oslo: University of Oslo

  • Pereltsvaig, Asya. 2007. Copular Sentences in Russian: A Theory of Intra-clausal Relations. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Pitts, Alyson. 2011. Exploring a ‘pragmatic ambiguity’ of negation. Language 87: 346–368.

  • Prior, Arthur Norman. 1967. Past, Present and Future. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Reichenbach, Hans. 1947. Elements of Symbolic Logic. New York: Random House.

  • Rhodes, Russell. 2009. A cross-linguistic comparison of tautological constructions with special focus on English. Downloadable at http://www.linguistics.berkeley.edu/~russellrhodes/pdfs/taut_qp.pdf

  • Ripley, David. 2011. Contradictions at the borders. In R. Nouwen, R. van Rooij, U. Sauerland and H.-C. Schmitz (eds.), Vagueness in Communication. 16–32. Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Russian National Corpus [Online]. http://www.ruscorpora.ru.

  • van der Sandt, Rob. 1991. Denial. Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS) 27: 331–344.

  • Snider, Todd. 2015. Using tautologies and contradictions. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 19: 590–607.

  • Sonnenhauser, Barbara. 2017. Tautologies at the interfaces: Wer kann, der kann. Journal of Pragmatics 117: 16–28.

  • Sperber, Dan and Deirdre Wilson. 1986/1995. Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Vilinbakhova, Elena and Mikhail Kopotev. 2017. Does “X est’ X” mean “X eto X”? Looking for an answer in synchrony and diachrony. Voprosy yazykoznaniya [Topics in the Study of Language] 3: 110–124.

  • Ward, Gregory and Julia Hirschberg. 1991. A pragmatic analysis of tautological utterances. Journal of Pragmatics 15: 507–520.

  • Wierzbicka, Anna. 1987. Boys will be boys: ‘Radical semantics’ vs. ‘radical pragmatics’. Language 63: 95–114.

  • Wierzbicka, Anna. 1988. Boys will be boys: A rejoinder to Bruce Fraser. Journal of Pragmatics 12: 221–224.

  • Wierzbicka, Anna. 1991. Cross-cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human Interaction. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Wilson, Deirdre. 2000. Metarepresentation in linguistic communication. In D. Sperber (ed.), Metarepresentations: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, 411–448. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Wilson, Deirdre and Dan Sperber. 2004. Relevance Theory. In L.R. Horn and G. Ward (eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics, 607–632. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1974. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Harper Perennial.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 404 161 13
Full Text Views 21 4 0
PDF Views & Downloads 18 6 0