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A Quantifier Approach to Negation in Natural Languages

Or Why Negative Concord is Necessary*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2008

Helmut Weiß
Affiliation:
University of Regensburg, DE-93053 Regensburg, Germany. E-mail: helmut.weiss@sprachlit.uni-regensburg.de
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Abstract

This article attempts to give a uniform and coherent analysis of the semantics and syntax of negation, with special emphasis on negative concord (NC) constructions. It is argued that negation is semantically a tripartite quantifier binding the event variable in its restriction. In syntax, this logical form corresponds to a structure where a NegP is present with Neg ° (normally) hosting the negative particle and a specifier as a checking position in the Minimalist sense. As a consequence, negative indefinites are held to be weak indefinites with a formal feature NEG which has to be checked away (thus obtaining Neg absorption). Additionally, some new data are introduced showing that even English style negative indefinites are analysable as non-negated weak indefinites.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2002

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