On Contrary in the Form of Contradictory—a Neo-Gricean Approach

Kaiyuan Chen


The purpose of the research is to explore the use of negated evaluative terms; specifically the question is why negated positive terms can trigger a negative reading while negated negative is harder to be attached with a positive reading—an asymmetry. Two aspects will be discussed, i.e. how people could read affirmative out of negative and why they would choose to use negative rather than affirmative form of expression. Based on Neo-Gricean standpoint on implicature, the current research suggests ambiguity and markedness are the key to understand the puzzle—how people can read such negation differently. Also the study attempts to shed some light on the reason behind the puzzle by arguing it is multi-disciplinary.


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