Query on interclausal scope
DEVERETT at BENTLEY.EDU
Thu Dec 1 19:51:46 UTC 2011
I am interested in knowing whether a certain pattern is more or less common. The question is whether languages with an S-comp rule usually have the possibility of negation switching scope across the matrix clause into the subordinate clause. So for example, in English in examples like "Mary doesn't think that John is smart" one meaning of this is that "Mary thinks that John isn't smart."
My question is whether English is rare or not. Even in English, the features seems to be limited to epistemic verbs, like "think".
So do readers of this list know of non-Indo European languages with this type of negative scope possibility? If so, is it limited to specific classes of verbs?
If you'd rather respond to me off-line, that is fine. I will later post a summary if there are enough answers.
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