Skip to main content

Negative polarity items in Ewe 1


Collins & Postal (2014) argue that English NPIs have two distinct syntactic structures: a unary NEG structure and a binary NEG structure. They suggest that this distinction is generally valid for natural languages. This formal difference was taken to reconstruct the common distinction in NPI studies between strong and weak NPIs. The present analysis of Ewe NPIs seeks to provide cross-linguistic support for this dual conception of NPIs by showing that the ke-NPIs in this language are all properly analyzed exclusively as unary NEG structures.

Corresponding author
Author’s address: Department of Linguistics, New York University, 10 Washington Place, 10003 New York, USA
Author’s address:
Author’s address: School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
Hide All

We thank the editor and the three Journal of Linguistics referees of this paper for their feedback. Abbreviations in the glosses follow the Leipzig Glossing Rules.

Hide All
Aboh Enoch. 2010. C-type negation markers on the right edge. In Aboh Enoch O. & Essegbey James (eds.), Topics in Kwa syntax, 109139. Amsterdam: Springer.
Agbedor Paul. 1994. Negation in Ewe. Working Papers of the Linguistic Circle 12, 5573. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria.
Akafia Seth Y. 1970. Ku le Xɔme. Accra: Bureau of Ghana Languages.
Ameka Felix. 1991. Ewe: Its grammatical constructions and illocutionary devices. Ph.D. dissertation, Australian National University.
Beghelli Filippo & Stowell Tim. 1997. Distributivity and negation: The syntax of each and every . In Szabolcsi Anna (ed.), Ways of taking scope, 71107. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Bell Arthur. 2004. Bipartite negation and the fine structure of the Negative Phrase. Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University.
Bernini Giuliano & Ramat Paolo. 1996. Negative sentences in the languages of Europe: A typological approach. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Blanchette Frances. 2015. English negative concord, negative polarity, and double negation. Ph.D. dissertation, City University of New York Graduate Center.
Collins Chris & Postal Paul M.. 2014. Classical NEG raising. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Collins Chris & Postal Paul M.. 2017. NEG raising and Serbo-Croatian NPIs. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 62.3. [doi:, published online 26 January 2017]
Davidson Donald. 1967. The logical form of action sentences. In Rescher Nicholas (ed.), The logic of decision and action, 8195. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.
De Swart Henriëtte & Sag Ivan A.. 2002. Negation and negative concord in Romance. Linguistics and Philosophy 25, 373417.
Giannakidou Anastasia. 1998. Polarity sensitivity as (non)veridical dependency. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Giannakidou Anastasia. 2000. Negative …concord? Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 18, 457523.
Giannakidou Anastasia. 2006. $N$ -words and negative concord. In Everaert Martin & van Riemsdijk Henk (eds.), The Blackwell companion to syntax, vol. III, 327391. Oxford: Blackwell.
Giannakidou Anastasia. 2011. Positive polarity items and negative polarity items: Variation, licensing, and compositionality. In Maienborn et al. (eds.), 16601712.
Haegeman Liliane. 1995. The syntax of negation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haegeman Liliane. 1997. The syntax of n-words and the Neg Criterion. In Forget Danielle, Hirschbühler Paul, Martineau France & Luisa Rivero María (eds.), Negation and polarity: Syntax and semantics, 115137. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Haegeman Liliane & Zanuttini Raffaella. 1991. Negative heads and the Neg Criterion. The Linguistic Review 8, 233251.
Haegeman Liliane & Zanuttini Raffaella. 1996. Negative concord in West Flemish. In Belletti Adriana & Rizzi Luigi (eds.), Parameters and functional heads, 117179. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haspelmath Martin. 2000. Indefinite pronouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Horn Laurence R. 2016. Licensing NPIs: Some negative (and positive) results. In Larrivée Pierre & Lee Chungman (eds.), Negation and polarity: Experimental perspectives, 281305. Berlin: Springer.
Kayne Richard S. 1994. The antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ladusaw William A.1979. Polarity sensitivity as inherent scope relations. Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. [Published 1980, New York, Garland Press]
Ladusaw William A. 1992. Expressing negation. In Barker Chris & Dowty David (eds.), Second Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT II) (Working Papers in Linguistics 40), 237259. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics.
Ladusaw William A. 1996. Negation and polarity items. In Lappin Shalom (ed.), The handbook of contemporary semantic theory, 321341. Oxford: Blackwell.
Linebarger Marcia. 1980. The grammar of negative polarity. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Linebarger Marcia. 1987. Negative polarity and grammatical representation. Linguistics and Philosophy 10, 325387.
Maienborn Claudia. 2011. Event semantics. In Maienborn et al. (eds.), 802829.
Maienborn Claudia, von Heusinger Klaus & Portner Paul (eds.). 2011. Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Berlin: De Gruyter.
May Robert. 1985. Logical form: Its structure and derivation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
May Robert. 1989. Interpreting logical form. Linguistics and Philosophy 12, 387435.
Merchant Jason. 2001. The syntax of silence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Merchant Jason. 2004. Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 27, 661738.
Postal Paul M. 2004. Skeptical linguistic essays. New York: Oxford University Press.
Progovac Ljiljana. 1994. Negative and positive polarity: A Binding approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rongier Jacques. 1988. Apprenons L’Ewe: Miasr~ɔ Eʋegbe, vol. 1. Paris: Éditions L’Harmattan.
Rongier Jacques. 1989. Apprenons L’Ewe: Miasr~ɔ Eʋegbe, vol. 2. Paris: Éditions L’Harmattan.
Ross John Robert. 1969. Guess who?In Binnick Robert I., Davison Alice, Green Georgia M. & Morgan Jerry M. (eds.), Papers from the Fifth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 5), 252278. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, Chicago Linguistic Society.
Watanabe Akira. 2004. The genesis of negative concord: Syntax and morphology of negative doubling. Linguistic Inquiry 35, 559612.
Westermann Diedrich. 1930. A study of the Ewe language. London: Oxford University Press.
Zanuttini Raffaella. 1997. Negation and clausal structure: A comparative study of Romance languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zeijlstra Hedde. 2004. Sentential negation and negative concord. Utrecht: Lot.
Zeijlstra Hedde. 2007. Negation in natural language: On the form and meaning of negative elements. Language and Linguistics Compass 1, 498518.
Zwarts Frans. 1998. Three types of polarity. In Hamm Fritz & Hinrichs Erhard (eds.), Plurality and quantification. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Zwarts Frans. 1999. Polarity items. In Brown Keith & Miller Jim (eds.), Concise encyclopedia of grammatical categories, 295300. New York: Elsevier.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0022-2267
  • EISSN: 1469-7742
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 76 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 456 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 4th May 2017 - 18th February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.