I recently asked a question concerning the scope of negation. I received helpful feedback from a number of linguists who frequent this forum. My efforts to discern the scope of negation continue, and in this regard, I have a new question that is related to my earlier one. However, this new question focuses only on the readings that are and are not available. I am concerned with three sentences. The first two of the three are the following:
A. Arthur does not discipline his children because he loves them. B. Because he loves them, Arthur does not discipline his children.
Based upon the responses I received, it is safe to say that sentence A is ambiguous, but that sentence B lacks the ambiguity. The pertinent readings are paraphrased as follows:
Reading 1: 'The reason Arthur does not discipline his children is that he loves them.' Reading 2: 'Arthur disciplines his children, but not because he loves them (but because...).'
Sentence A allows both of these readings, whereas sentence B allows only Reading 1. This much seems to be agreed upon by everyone who responded to my earlier question.
Based upon the data just presented, I hypothesized that the negation cannot scope backwards over an adjunct. I challenged the forum to provide a counterexample. Well, a colleague of mine has in fact produced a counterexample that (in my view) clearly contradicts my hypothesis. This counterexample is as follows:
C. ...but discipline his children because he loves them, Arthur does not.
For me and my colleague, this sentence allows the reading that has the negation scoping backwards over the cause (Reading 2). So based on this result, my earlier hypothesis can be discarded. However, there is an aspect of example C that is not clear for us: Is it ambiguous? If it is ambiguous, which readings are available? Is it ambiguous in the same way as sentence A?
My colleague and I agree that sentence C is ambiguous, but we disagree concerning the available readings. One of us believes that sentence C is ambiguous in the same way as sentence A (Reading 1 and Reading 2). The other believes that the ambiguity in sentence C is different than for sentence A (Reading 2 and Reading 3). The putative third reading is paraphrased roughly as follows:
Reading 3: 'Arthur does not discipline his children, though he does love them.'
Thus to restate my questions as clearly as possible:
Is example C ambiguous?
If it is ambiguous, which readings are available (Reading 1, Reading 2, Reading 3, and/or perhaps some other reading)?
Now, a couple of days later after posting the question above, a new piece of evidence has been brought to my attention. This new evidence answers my question, I think, so I want to share it here. Observe:
D. ...but discipline his children because he loves them, Arthur does not because he's never at home. E. *Arthur does not discipline his children because he loves them because he's never at home.
If the acceptability judgments here are accurate, they demonstrate that Reading 1 is not available for sentence C. Reading 1 interprets the subordinate clause because he loves them as giving the cause of the the absence of punishment. In sentence D, however, the cause of the absence of punishment is the second because-clause, i.e. because he's never at home. Thus Reading 1 is incompatible with the addition of the second because-clause. Reading 3, in contrast, is quite compatible with the addition of the second because-clause. Conclusion: Sentence C is ambiguous, allowing Reading 2 and Reading 3, but it does not allow Reading 1. Here are further examples that illustrate the point:
F. ...but go to bed because I was tired, I did not because I had to finish my paper. G. ...but open the window because she was hot, she did not because it was hotter outside. H. ...but pass the test because he had studied, Sam did not because the test was simply too difficult.
These sentences are all incompatible with a reading along the lines of Reading 1. I'd appreciate any further comments concerning these additional data.