© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016. All rights reserved. This study focuses on the interaction between prosody and syntax in the interpretation of single negation and Double Negation in two Negative Concord languages, namely Catalan and Spanish. By means of two perception experiments, we investigate the role of two major formal conditions in the interpretation of Double Negation in Catalan and Spanish answers to negative wh-questions: (a) their intonation; and (b) their syntactic structure, which contain n-words such as Catalan ningú 'nobody' or Spanish nada 'nothing'. The results reveal that (i) syntax and prosody interact: prosodic contours enhance processing of syntactic structures; (ii) isolated and preverbal n-words may convey DN interpretations when associated with a special intonation; and (iii) Catalan and Spanish hearers show form-meaning preferences between syntactic forms and prosodic contours: interestingly, hearers do not reject marked forms that should be discarded by a theory of grammar that only takes into account syntactic constituents and their merging possibilities according to their formal features, but they interpret them in the only way they can be interpreted, as a presupposition denial.
|Title of host publication||Negation and Polarity: Experimental Perspectives|
|Number of pages||31|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2016|
- Double negation
- Negative concord languages