Negation and Negative Concord in Romance

Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):373 - 417 (2002)
Abstract
This paper addresses the two interpretations that a combination of negative indefinites can get in concord languages like French: a concord reading, which amounts to a single negation, and a double negation reading. We develop an analysis within a polyadic framework, where a sequence of negative indefinites can be interpreted as an iteration of quantifiers or via resumption. The first option leads to a scopal relation, interpreted as double negation. The second option leads to the construction of a polyadic negative quantifier corresponding to the concord reading. Given that sentential negation participates in negative concord, we develop an extension of the polyadic approach which can deal with non-variable binding operators, treating the contribution of negation in a concord context as semantically empty. Our semantic analysis, incorporated into a grammatical analysis formulated in HPSG, crucially relies on the assumption that quantifiers can be combined in more than one way upon retrieval from the quantifier store. We also consider cross-linguistic variation regarding the participation of sentential negation in negative concord.
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