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Negative concord in the Old and New World: Evidence from Scotland

  • Jennifer Smith (a1)

Abstract

In this article, I conduct a quantitative analysis of negative concord in Buckie, a relic dialect from the northeast of Scotland, and compare these findings with transported varieties of English in North America. Two major results arise from the analysis. First, Buckie has high rates of use of negative concord to indeterminates within the same clause, as do all the dialects included in the study. Second, negative concord in other environments is found in certain varieties in the New World that have no counterparts in the Old World. I suggest that the quantitative similarities can be explained in terms of the primitive status of negative concord in vernacular varieties of English, in combination with a shared linguistic heritage during the colonial period. The qualitative differences demonstrate that contexts of linguistic heterogeneity in North America during the early colonization period led to an extension and restructuring of the original rules.

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