Pragmatics and Cognition 5 (2):235-252 (1997)
AbstractWhile negatives are fundamental to the functioning of human languages and while they are acquired extremely early by children, there is some evidence that an aware-ness of the logical and representational functions of negation is late to develop and may depend in part on the invention of notational means for representing it. This hypothesis is explored by reference to the presence or absence of notations for negation in the world's writing systems, the acquisition of notational devices for representing negation by young children, and the invention of numerical notation for representing nothing, namely, zero. In each case it is argued that while negation is part of oral language, conceptualizing absence may be related to the invention of notations for negation.
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