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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Denial is something we do; it is a speech act. Negation, on the other hand, is a particular lexical item. Despite being very different kinds of things, denial and negation certainly seem to have something to do with each other. There’s something negative about them both. This ‘negative’ aspect, whatever it is, unifies denial and negation across these categories. It is something that denial does not share with the speech act of assertion, for example, although they are both speech acts; nor does negation share it with, say, ‘must’, although they are both lexical items. There are a range of theories about the relationships between negation and denial. This article aims to give a brief overview of these theories, and to indicate some of the reasons for and against each.

Keywords: denial, speech act, negation, equivalence, assertion

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