Matti Miestamo
Table of contents

In propositional logic negation is a connective that changes the truth value of a proposition. If p is true, then ¬p is false, and vice versa. As many sections in this article will show, things are not that straightforward in natural language. Philosophers have been interested in negation since ancient times. Within linguistics negation has been approached from various points of view, and a large number of topics related to negation is discussed in the literature. The central aspects of the most important issues will be covered here. Section 1 discusses the scope of negation, section 2 takes up some issues pertaining to the markedness of negation, section 3 looks at how negation is expressed in the world’s languages, the topic of section 4 is negative polarity, negation and scalarity is treated in section 5, metalinguistic negation in section 6, negative transport in section 7, some diachronic issues in section 8, and finally section 9 addresses the acquisition of negation. Before going into questions of scope, it is perhaps appropriate to mention two central publications in the field: Jespersen (1917) can be considered the classical work on negation in linguistics, and Horn (1989), covering a wide range of issues in the semantics and pragmatics of negation, is indispensable to anybody doing research on the subject.

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