Settledness, Polarity and Mood in Spanish Complements
Keywords:Spanish, Mood, Assertion, Settledness, Polarity
The paper discusses the effects of mood on the availability of an existential interpretation of negative words such as nadie "nobody" in the complement of emotive factive predicates in Spanish. In these contexts, the subjunctive mood allows nadie to be interpreted as a non-negated existential quantified expression, ∃x, equivalent to alguien. On the other hand, the indicative mood allows only for a negative universal interpretation of the expression, ∀x¬, or a negated existential interpretation, ¬∃x. An account of this phenomenon is proposed in terms of the notion of settledness. A proposition expressed by an indicative complement is asserted, which indicates the speaker's intention that it be settled in the context set. The proposition is grammatically settled. A proposition in the subjunctive mood is not asserted, the speaker is not indicating an intention that it be settled, it is in a grammatically unsettled state (p/¬p: a state in which p and ¬p are left undetermined). The word nadie is analyzed as denoting a quantity scale <∀, ∃>. Within an asserted complement, the interpretation of nadie is fixed at the highest, most informative, point in the scale, ∀. On the other hand, within the grammatically unsettled complement of an affective predicate, the interpretation of nadie is not fixed at the highest point in the scale. This indeterminacy allows it to assume a value at the lowest point, ∃. It is noted that this possibility provides an expressive tool which may be used to add an emphatic hue to an utterance.
Arita, S. (2009). Tense and Settledness in Japanese Conditionals. In Pizziconi B., Kizu M. (eds.) Japanese Modality. London: Palmgrave-MacMillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230245754_6
Backer, C. (1970). Double negatives. Linguistic Inquiry I 6, 169–186.
Bosque, I. (1980). Sobre la negación [On negation]. Madrid: Cátedra.
Bosque, I. (2014). Mood: Indicative vs Subjunctive. In Hualde, Jose Ignacio, Antxon Olarrea, and Erin O'Rourke (eds.) The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics, pp.373-394. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118228098.ch19
De Jonge, B. (2001). Spanish subjunctive mood: One form, more than one meaning? In Reineke Bok-Bennema, Bob de Jonge, Brigitte Campers-Mahem, Arie Molendijk (eds.) Adverbial Modification, Selected Papers form the Fifth Colloquium on Romance Linguistics, Groningen, 10-12 September 1998, pp/ 79-92. Amsterdam/Atlanta: Rodopi. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004488663_007
De Swart, H., and Ivan A. Sag. (2002). Negation and Negative Concord in Romance. Linguistics and Philosophy 25, 373-417.
Espinal, M.T. (1992). Expletive Negation and Logical Absorption. The Linguistic Review 9, 333-358. https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.19184.108.40.2063
Espinal, M.T. (2000a). Expletive Negation, Negative Concord and Feature Checking. CatWPL 8, 47-69.
Espinal, M.T. (2000b). On the Semantice status of n-words in Catalan and Spanish. Lingua 110, 557-580. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0024-3841(00)00002-4
Fauconnier, G. (1975). Pragmatic Scales and Logical Structure. Linguistic Inquiry 6:3, 353-375.
Fauconnier, G. (1985). Mental Spaces. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Firbas, J. (1992). Functional sentence perspective in written and spoken communication. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511597817
Giannakidou, A. (1997). The Landscape of Polarity Items. Groningen, PhD dissertation.
Giannakidou, A. (2006). Only, emotive factive verbs, and the dual nature of polarity dependency. Language, 575–603. https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2006.0136
Givon, T. (1979). On understanding Grammar. New York: Academic Press.
Greco, M. (2020). On the syntax of surprise negation sentence: A case study on expletive negation. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 38, 775-825. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11049-019-09459-6
Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and Conversation, in P. Cole and J. L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts. New York: Academic Press, pp. 41-58. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004368811_003
Guitart, J. M. (1991). The pragmatics of Spanish Mood in complements of knowledge and acquisition-of-knowledge predicates, in S. Fleischman and L. R. Waugh (eds.), Discourse Pragmatics and the Verb. The Evidence from Romance, pp 179-193. New York: Routledge.
Haverkate, H. (2002). The Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics of Spanish Mood. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.96
Herburger, E. (2001). The Negative Concord Puzzle Rrevisited. Natural Language Semantics 1, 289-333. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014205526722
Hoff, M. (2019). Settledness and mood alternations: a semantic-pragmatic analysis of of Spanish futured framed adverbials. Ph.D. dissertation. Ohio State University. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2018.10.016
Hoff, M., and Scott A. Schwenter. (2019). Settledness and morphosyntactic variation accross Romance. LSRL 49. Univeristy of Georgia.
Horn, L. H. (1989). A Natural History of Negation. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Israel, M. (1996). Polarity Sensitivity as Lexical Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 19:6, pp. 619-666. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00632710
Jary, M. (2002). Mood in relevance theory: a re-analysis focused on the Spanish subjunctive. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 14, pp. 157-188.
Jary, M. (2009). Relevance, assertion and possible worlds: A cognitive approach to the Spanish subjunctive. In P. De Brabanter, & M. Kissine (Eds.), Utterance interpretation and cognitive models (pp. 235-277). Emerald Group Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004253148_010
Jespersen, O. (1917). Negation in English and Other Languages. Copenhagen, A.F. Høst.
Karttunen, L. (1976). Discourse referents. In J. D. McCawley (Ed.). Syntax and semantics (Vol. 7). New York: Academic Press, 1976.
Kauffman, S. (2002). The presumption of Settledness. CLS 38. 313-328.
Kay, P. (1990). Even. Linguistics and Philosophy 13, 59-111. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00630517
Klein, F. (1975). Pragmatic Constraints on Distribution: the Spanish Subjunctive. Papers from the regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society XI, 353-365.
Klima, E. (1964). Negation in English, in J. Fodor and J. Katz (eds.), The Structure of Language, pp. 246-323. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall.
Ladusaw, W. (1979). Polarity Sensitivity as Inherent Scope Relations. PhD dissertation, Univesity of Texas.
Ladusaw, W. (1992). Expressing Negation. In C. Barker and D. Dowty (eds.), Proceedings of SALT 2, pp. 237-259. Columbus, The Ohio State University. https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v2i0.3030
Ladusaw, W. (1993). Negation, Indefinites, and the Jespersen Cycle. In J. Guenter, B. Kaiser, and C. Zall (eds.), Proceedings of BLS 19, pp 437-446. Berkeley, Berkeley Linguistics Society. https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v19i1.1515
Laka, I. (1990). Negation in Syntax: On the Nature of Functional Categories and Projections. Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Linebarger, M. (1987). Negative polarity and grammatical representation. Linguistics and Philosophy,10(3), 325–387. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00584131
Longobardi, G. (1987). The three systems of Romance negation. Paper presented at the X GLOW Colloquium, Workshop on Generative Dialectology. Venice.
Longobardi, G. (2017). Theory and Experiment in Parametric Minimalism: The Case of Romance Negation. Revista Lingüística 13, 108-159. https://doi.org/10.31513/linguistica.2017.v13n2a13506
Lunn, P. (1989). Spanish Mood and the Prototype of Assertability. Linguistics 27, pp. 687-702. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.19220.127.116.117
Mejías-Bikandi, E. (2014). A Cognitive Account of Mood in the Complement of Causative Predicates in Spanish. Hispania 97.4, pp. 651-665. https://doi.org/10.1353/hpn.2014.0111
Palmer, F.R. (2001). Mood and Modality. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139167178
Pons Barbería, S., and Scott A. Schwenter. (2005). Polar meaning and "expletive" negation in approximative adverbs; Spanish por poco (no). Journal of Historical Pragmatics 6, 262-282. https://doi.org/10.1075/jhp.6.2.06pon
Prince, E. F. (1981). Toward a Taxonomy of Given-New Information. In Cole, Peter (ed.) Radical Pragmatics, pp 223-255. New York: Academic Press.
RAE. (2010). Nueva gramática de la lengua española. Madrid, Espasa.
Sánchez López, C. (1996). Observaciones sobre la negación expletiva en español. Español Actual 66, 25-42.
Sperber, D., and Deirdre Wilson. (1986). Relevance. Oxford: Blackwell.
Stalnaker, R. C. (1978). Assertion, in P. Cole (ed.), Syntax and Semantics, vol 9: Pragmatics, pp. 315-332. New York, Academic Press.
Suñer, M. (1995). Negative Elements, Island Effects and Resumptive No. The Linguistic Review 12, pp. 233-373. https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.1918.104.22.168
Szabolcsi, A. (2004). Positive Polarity-Negative Polarity. Natural Language and Lingustic Theory 22, 409-452. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:NALA.0000015791.00288.43
Terrell, T. (1976). Assertion and Presupposition in Spanish Complements. In Luján, Marta, and Fritz Hensey Current Studies in Romance Linguistics, pp. 221-245. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Terrell, T., and Joan Hooper. (1974). A Semantically Based Analysis of Mood in Spanish. Hispania 57, pp 484-94. https://doi.org/10.2307/339187
Wilson, D., and Dan Sperber. (2012). Meaning and Relevance. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139028370
Van der Wouden, T. (1997). Negative Contexts: Collocation, Polarity and Multiple Negation. Routledge: London and New York.
Zanuttini, R. (1991). Syntactic properties of sentential negation. A comparative study of Romance languages. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Zovko Dinković, I. and Gašper Ilc. (2017). Pleonastic negation from a cross-linguistic perspective. Jezikoslovlje 18, 159-180.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Errapel Mejías-Bikandi
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).