L'interprétation des phrases négatives: portée et foyer des négations en français

Translated title of the contribution: The interpretation of negative sentences: scope and focus of negation in French

Pierre Larrivée

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The organization of linguistic meaning is animated by the duality between the sense of signs and the reference to the experience of speakers. How the presuppositions communicated by speakers emanate from the conventional value of signs and their cotextual dependencies is explored in this monograph on the scope and focus of negation. Negation can have scope over the predicate of the sequence in which it is used. The body of data brought together show that a variety of configurations preclude command of the predicate by the negative scoping over it, and that scope is a semantic rather than structural relation. Scope defines the domain in which an item can be focused by negation. Negative focus is dependent on the evocation of an alternative value, which may be generated by lexical antonymy, syntactic determination or contextual corrections. The study of focus and scope of negation on the basis of attested examples from different varieties of French demonstrates how the independently motivated semantic principles of relation to predicate and reference to an alternative value account for the observed effects.
Original languageFrench
Place of PublicationBrussels
Number of pages213
ISBN (Print)978-2-80111-283-0
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Publication series

NameChamps linguistiques


  • linguistic meaning
  • sense of signs
  • negation
  • predicate
  • negative
  • semantic
  • lexical antonymy
  • syntactic determination
  • contextual corrections
  • focus
  • scope
  • French

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