• Cambridge Scholars Publishing

    "Controversies in Medicine and Neuroscience: Through the Prism of History, Neurobiology, and Bioethics (2023) is well worth reading and studying. It should be standard on all doctor’s bookshelves and among the interested laymen."

    - Russell L. Blaylock, President of Theoretical Neuroscience Research

The Syntax of Surprise: Expletive Negation and the Left Periphery

Negation is a universal syntactic phenomenon only employed in human languages. People use negative sentences in everyday conversations, and they display complex semantic and syntactic properties when doing so. Crucially, some languages employ negative sentences to assert affirmative and surprise propositions. A clear example of this is offered by Italian, as in: ‘E non (not) mi è scesa dal treno Maria?!’ (‘Maria got off the train!’). This special type of negation is called surprise negation, and it belongs to the class of expletive negation. This book sheds light on this puzzling phenomenon, by means of a theoretical analysis and an experimental study. It explores the contexts, mainly syntactic, in which negation receives its expletive interpretation, and considers whether expletive negation is grammatically distinct from standard negation.


Matteo Greco is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University School for Advanced Studies of Pavia, Italy. He received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind from a joint program between the University Vita e Salute-San Raffaele, Italy, and the University School for Advanced Studies of Pavia in 2017. He specializes in theoretical and experimental linguistics, with a particular interest in syntax and the syntax-semantics interface. His research focuses on the study of linguistic negation and copular sentences. He recently translated and edited a previously unpublished book by Noam Chomsky, titled Il mistero del linguaggio. Nuove prospettive.

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Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-5275-4092-8

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-4092-7

Release Date: 28th November 2019

Pages: 240

Price: £61.99

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