Syntactic vs. Semantic Negation

  • Hedde Zeijlstra

Abstract

In this paper I investigate the relation between Negative Concord (NC) and the syntactic status of negative markers. I will show that (basing myself on three different empirical domains) Jespersen’s original bidirectional generalization between these two phenomena should be replaced by a unidirectional one: whenever a language has a negative marker that is a syntactic head, the language exhibits NC; languages that only exhibit Double Negation lack a negative head. I will analyze NC as a form of syntactic agreement. This means that only NC languages have a functional projection NegP. Moreover, this means that n-words in Negative Concord languages cannot be regarded as semantically negative and that not in every language the negative marker itself is the phonological realization of a negative operator. I will conclude my paper by showing that this analysis predicts the correct readings of multiple negative expressions, including those that formed problems for previous analyses of NC.
Published
2019-08-19
How to Cite
Zeijlstra, H. (2019). Syntactic vs. Semantic Negation. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 8, 333-348. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2004.v8i0.767