By Haj Ross and Paul Postal
(informal data handout)
Haj Ross & Paul Postal
8.VIII.95 Lac des les
List of suspects: (jack)shit, crap, beans, diddley(shit), zilch,
(diddley)squat, dick, fuck all, bugger all
The Bahnhofers: zero, zip, zippo, zilch & dick -
only for cognitive objects?
He told us zero.
They (*don't) know zero.
*He ate zero.
They *(don't) give squat to anyone.
Some are weaker than others:
He gave zero to Louise >= He gave Louise zero.
He handed zip to me. >= ?He handed me zip.
Locality condition on negative with squat:
I didn't think / *say / *report / *write that she knew squat.
Never did anything / *squat happen to me.
Never was anything / *squat recovered from the Titanic.
He knows squat about calc.
*Squat does he know about calc.
They *(don't) know squat, do they?
He didn't take / buy / ?approve of pictures of squat.
Case condition: No 3's:
He didn't give anything / *squat a coat of paint.
He didn't give anything / *squat any consideration
He didn't prove anything / squat to have been given any consideration.
[ OK because squat has become a 2 via Raisng.]
He never gets injured by anything / *squat.
He wasn't killed by anything / *squat
?He wasn't swayed by squat.
Houdini couldn't escape from anything / ?squat.
He won't live in anything / *squat.
[passive OK: e.g., This house was lived in for years;
thus squat is more restrictive than passivization.]
No genitives: *squat's surface
Jack didn't prove of anything / *squat that there was recursion.
There never was anything / squat on the table.
There never emerged anything / *squat from our discussions.
Pronominal reference to squat:
They don't force anything / *squat to lie on its side.
Alchemists couldn't make anything / *squat attract stuff to itself.
He doesn't expect anything / *squat to suggest itself
He said squat (*of any interest/ *at all)
He didn't send [anything / *squat] to her at all.
They don't have anything / *squat to play with. [
Shows that the infinitive is not modifying the object of have.]
He didn't say squat (*else).
Huge problem: why isn't the about-phrase ruled out by nakedness?
They don't know shit about algebra.
It looks like such phrases make constituents with what precedes them,
Nothing about algebra did he tell us;
He told us neither anything about algebra nor anything about snake
oil; let alone anything about algebra -_
all of these generally require constituents -_cf. the self-immolations
of the following, in all of which I assume that NP about NP after tell
is a decided non-constituent:
*Nobody about algebra did he tell;
*He told neither any girl about algebra nor any boy about snake oil;
*let alone anybody about algebra.
Nobody said squat about anything.
He didn't say squat about anything.
He said squat about anything.
*I allowed squat to poison anyone.
Strong negative condition: there must be a syntactic Klima-type
negative, which really means not to get squatitives, and in the same
Why not go fuck Barbara? / *eat anything / *squat.
NB: only won't trigger squat:
Only Bob knew anything / *squat about calc.
Everybody but Bob knew squat about calc.
He is too stupid to understand anything / *squat.
Affectives, lexical negatives, Q's, etc. aren't worth shit:
If he knows anything / *squat;
Does he know anything / *squat?;
He is unable to find anything / *squat
Negative Q's *:
Didn't he sign anything / *squat?
Something else (?):
Why didn't you do anything / *squat?
Paul: You can't just not do anything / *squat.
Better for Haj -_He can't just not know squat.
Nobody saw nothing = everybody saw something
Nobody saw squat = nobody saw anything <> everybody saw something
Note 1: inside NP's, even strong negatives are too weak:
Nobody's discussion of anything / *squat interested me.
Worse than merely out after P:
She doesn't dream about squat / *Nobody's dream about squat.
Negative-swallowing squat's untough-movability
I take squat to be hard to give to friends at Christmas.
It's easy to imagine nobody sending nothing
= everybody sending something.
*Nothing is easy to imagine nobody sending.
She doesn't like anyone or anything / *squat.
Black hole condition:
Frank didn't give / *gave squat to any charity.
In order to spend nothing / *squat, he stayed out of the malls.
He's too big-hearted to give nothing / *squat to the United Fund.
He gave very little in the way of anything / *squat to her.
*(Don't) do squat until I get back.
*May I ask that you do squat till tomorrow?
Why didn't you do nothing / *squat till he got back?
He figured out zip >> *He figured zip out.
Last modified: February 7, 2011