The Negative Concord Puzzle Revisited

Natural Language Semantics 9 (3):289-333 (2001)

Abstract
This paper investigates Negative Concord, arguing that it results from a systematic lexical ambiguity: the items that participate in Negative Concord ("n-words" in Laka's 1990 terminology) are ambiguous between negative polarity items and their genuinely negative counterparts. I try to show that on empirical grounds the proposed account compares favorably with other analyses that shy away from ambiguity. I furthermore suggest that the ambiguity is not implausible conceptually because it can be viewed as reflecting an intermediate stage of the Jespersen Cycle. Negative Concord can be observed in many languages. The data discussed here are taken from Romance, primarily Spanish
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DOI 10.1023/A:1014205526722
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Positive Polarity - Negative Polarity.Anna Szabolcsi - 2004 - Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 22 (2):409-452..
Neg-Raising and Polarity.Jon Robert Gajewski - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):289-328.
Syntax and Semantics: An Overview.Arnim von Stechow - 2012 - In Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton.

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