Some Issues on Capturing the Meaning of Negated Statements

Some Issues on Capturing the Meaning of Negated Statements

Eduardo Blanco, Dan Moldovan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-447-5.ch008
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Negation is present in all human languages, and it is used to reverse the polarity of parts of a statement. It is a complex phenomenon that interacts with many other aspects of language. Besides the direct meaning, negated statements often carry positive implicit meaning. Negation can be interpreted in terms of its scope and focus. This chapter explores the importance of both scope and focus to capture the meaning of negated statements. Some issues that must be taken into account for representing negation are outlined, the forms in which negation occurs are depicted, and heuristics to detect scope and focus of negation are proposed and evaluated.
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Negation has been widely studied outside of computational linguistics. In logic, it is usually the simplest unary operator and it reverses the truth value. The seminal work on negation by Horn (1989) presents the main thoughts in philosophy and psychology. We follow him in the next two paragraphs.

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