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The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the MediterraneanVolume I Case Studies$
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David Willis, Christopher Lucas, and Anne Breitbarth

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602537.001.0001

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Negation in the history of (High) German

Negation in the history of (High) German

(p.151) 5 Negation in the history of (High) German
The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the Mediterranean

Agnes Jager

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the expression of negation and negative indefinites from Old High German to the present day. In Old High German, sentential negation was expressed by a preverbal negative particle and there was optional negative concord with negative indefinites. In Middle High German, as in English, the preverbal negator was reinforced and replaced by a new negator, nicht, deriving from a negative indefinite pronoun, and, with negative indefinites, a non-negative-concord grammar emerged, as is the norm in German today.

Keywords:   German, Old High German, Middle High German, negative particles, Jespersen’s cycle, negative indefinites, negative concord, minimalist syntax

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