The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 10/26 - Frank Staniszewski

Speaker: Frank Staniszewski (MIT)
Time: Wednesday, October 26th, 1-2pm
Place: 32-D831
Title: Partial Cyclicity and Restrictions on Neg-Raising


Partial cyclicity refers to the observation that for some but not all combinations of neg-raising predicates, neg-raising can apply cyclically, and a negation in the matrix clause can be interpreted as if it is taking scope in the most deeply embedded clause (Fillmore 1963, Horn 1971, Gajewski 2007). For example, cyclic neg-raising is available when ‘believe’ embeds ‘want’, but not when ‘want’ embeds ‘believe’.
 (1)      a.   I don’t believe John wanted Harry to die until tomorrow.
            b. *I don’t want John to believe Harry died until yesterday.
            (Gajewski (2007) based on Horn (1971))
            In this presentation of work in progress, I will attempt to expand the empirical domain of this phenomenon. I will discuss new evidence that suggests that examples of partial cyclicity are part of a wider class of restrictions on neg-raising, and that these restrictions are the result of temporal orientation: In general, NR is blocked in an embedded clause that can be understood as future-shifted or yet unknown from the perspective of the matrix tense. I hope to explore whether or not the new data can be explained by previous accounts of partial cyclicity, and if not, what revisions or new analyses could account for the more general phenomenon.