Negative Events and Compositional Semantics

Timothée Bernard, Lucas Champollion

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Motivated by intuitive parallels between event descriptions with and without linguistic negation, we develop a formalization of negative events. We propose that verbal negation denotes a function, which sends any set of events to a set constrained by a principle ensuring that any event in occurs if and only if no event in does. This allows us to construe the events in as negative, "anti-", events. Our formalization of is conceptually related to truthmaker semantics but only requires standard logical tools, and it is compatible with standard versions of event semantics. We develop an explicit syntax-semantics interface and compositional analyses of the interaction of negation with disjunction, conjunction, quantifiers, and nonfinite perception reports.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)585-620
    Number of pages36
    JournalJournal of Semantics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


    • compositional semantics
    • conjunction
    • disjunction
    • event semantics
    • eventualities
    • formal semantics
    • negation
    • negative events
    • perception reports
    • quantifiers
    • truthmaker semantics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Artificial Intelligence


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