No more than 20 years

Variant title
Ne víc než 20 let
Source document: Linguistica Brunensia. 2016, vol. 64, iss. 1, pp. 41-55
  • ISSN
    1803-7410 (print)
    2336-4440 (online)
License: Not specified license
This article discusses differing interpretations of constituent negation in Czech and English. It empirically focuses on negated comparatives containing numerals as exemplified in the title. The English negated comparative has exact semantics (sentence like "No more than 30 people showed up" is true in a situation where exactly 30 people showed up), unlike its Czech translation (sentence like "Ukázalo se ne více než 30 lidí" would be true in any situation where the cardinality of people who showed up lies in the interval from 0 to 30), hence I call the Czech interpretation of comparatives containing numerals interval. This seems to be a fact about Czech constituent negation as testified by a corpus study reported in the article. I explain the cross-linguistic difference in the constituent negation in the following manner: the Czech constituent negation is semantically interpreted as denial, it is not exhaustified pragmatically, consequently the interval reading results; English negated comparatives are interpreted through pragmatical strengthening, consequently they receive the exact semantics.
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