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Antonymy and negation: the boundedness hypothesis

Paradis, Carita LU and Willners, Caroline LU (2006) In Journal of Pragmatics 38(7). p.1051-1080
Abstract
This paper investigates the interpretation of unbounded (scalar) adjective antonyms with and without

negation such as (not) narrow – (not) wide and bounded adjective antonyms with and without negation such

as (not) dead – (not) alive as well as their interpretations with approximating degree modifiers, fairly and

almost, respectively. The investigation was designed to test the boundedness hypothesis, namely that the

negator is sensitive to the configuration of the adjective in terms of BOUNDEDNESS. The data are Swedish and

the results of the experiments show that negated unbounded adjectives do not evoke the interpretation of

their antonyms, i.e. not wide does not equal ‘narrow’. The... (More)
This paper investigates the interpretation of unbounded (scalar) adjective antonyms with and without

negation such as (not) narrow – (not) wide and bounded adjective antonyms with and without negation such

as (not) dead – (not) alive as well as their interpretations with approximating degree modifiers, fairly and

almost, respectively. The investigation was designed to test the boundedness hypothesis, namely that the

negator is sensitive to the configuration of the adjective in terms of BOUNDEDNESS. The data are Swedish and

the results of the experiments show that negated unbounded adjectives do not evoke the interpretation of

their antonyms, i.e. not wide does not equal ‘narrow’. The results of the experiments with bounded

adjectives with and without negation showed that some of the negated adjectives were interpreted as

synonyms of their antonyms, i.e. not alive equals ‘dead’. However, this pattern was not consistent across the

bounded adjectives, since a number of them readily lent themselves to partial readings. Four types of

bounded antonyms emerged from the participants’ judgements. For both unbounded and bounded

adjectives, the interpretations of the approximating degree modifiers and the adjectives were not significantly

different from the negated adjectives. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
negation, degree, boundedness, scale, Antonymy, adjectives
in
Journal of Pragmatics
volume
38
issue
7
pages
1051 - 1080
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000238001700005
  • scopus:33646351019
ISSN
0378-2166
DOI
10.1016/j.pragma.2005.11.009
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e7fdca0f-ef8c-4480-b3ac-160d0e7e551e (old id 166109)
date added to LUP
2007-07-27 15:47:54
date last changed
2019-07-02 01:38:48
@article{e7fdca0f-ef8c-4480-b3ac-160d0e7e551e,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates the interpretation of unbounded (scalar) adjective antonyms with and without<br/><br>
negation such as (not) narrow – (not) wide and bounded adjective antonyms with and without negation such<br/><br>
as (not) dead – (not) alive as well as their interpretations with approximating degree modifiers, fairly and<br/><br>
almost, respectively. The investigation was designed to test the boundedness hypothesis, namely that the<br/><br>
negator is sensitive to the configuration of the adjective in terms of BOUNDEDNESS. The data are Swedish and<br/><br>
the results of the experiments show that negated unbounded adjectives do not evoke the interpretation of<br/><br>
their antonyms, i.e. not wide does not equal ‘narrow’. The results of the experiments with bounded<br/><br>
adjectives with and without negation showed that some of the negated adjectives were interpreted as<br/><br>
synonyms of their antonyms, i.e. not alive equals ‘dead’. However, this pattern was not consistent across the<br/><br>
bounded adjectives, since a number of them readily lent themselves to partial readings. Four types of<br/><br>
bounded antonyms emerged from the participants’ judgements. For both unbounded and bounded<br/><br>
adjectives, the interpretations of the approximating degree modifiers and the adjectives were not significantly<br/><br>
different from the negated adjectives.},
  author       = {Paradis, Carita and Willners, Caroline},
  issn         = {0378-2166},
  keyword      = {negation,degree,boundedness,scale,Antonymy,adjectives},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {1051--1080},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Pragmatics},
  title        = {Antonymy and negation: the boundedness hypothesis},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2005.11.009},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2006},
}