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Exploring Nanosyntax$
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Lena Baunaz, Liliane Haegeman, Karen De Clercq, and Eric Lander

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190876746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190876746.001.0001

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Syncretisms and the Morphosyntax of Negation

Syncretisms and the Morphosyntax of Negation

Chapter:
(p.180) Chapter 7 Syncretisms and the Morphosyntax of Negation*
Source:
Exploring Nanosyntax
Author(s):

Karen De Clercq

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190876746.003.0007

This chapter illustrates how syncretisms can be used as a tool to diagnose hidden structure inside what is usually considered an indivisible unit, i.e. a negative marker. Based on semantic, scopal, stacking, and functional properties of negative markers, it is proposed that negative markers can be classified in four groups: scalar quantity markers, classifier markers, focus markers, and tense markers. A study of these four different types of markers in a typological sample shows that meaningful syncretism patterns can be detected. If the markers are ordered in such a way that syncretic markers are contiguous and that no ABA patterns arise, then the derived sequence reflects the natural semantic scope of negation, i.e. from wide to narrow scope or from narrow to wide. This result leads to a decomposition of a negative marker into five syntactico-semantic features, i.e. Neg, Q, Class, Foc, and T.

Keywords:   negation, syncretism, classification, typology, contradiction, contrariety, decomposition, *ABA

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