A crosslinguistic perspective on n-words



Argitaratua 2007-04-13
Doris Penka


The semantic status of so-called n-words in Negative Concord languages has been under considerable debate. This paper takes a new perspective on this problem by bringing Negative Concord together with two different phenomena that n-words give rise to in non-Negative Concord languages, namely scope splitting in German and distributional restrictions in the Scandinavian languages. I argue that all this taken together reveals the common nature of n-words across languages. These phenomena suggest that n-words should not be analysed as negative quantifiers. Rather, n-words are morpho-syntactic markers of sentential negation. I present a cross-linguistic analysis of n-words and show how the three phenomena discussed follow from it. This analysis is based on the assumption that n-words are semantically non-negative and must be licensed by a (possibly abstract) negation. It is proposed that n-words cross-linguistically are of essentially the same nature and that differences between languages regarding their behaviour are due to parametric variation.

Nola aipatu

Penka, Doris. 2007. «A Crosslinguistic Perspective on N-Words». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo" 41 (2):267-83. https://doi.org/10.1387/asju.3904.
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