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Negation and Nonveridicality in the History of Greek$
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Katerina Chatzopoulou

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198712404.001.0001

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Renewal and stability

Renewal and stability

One full Jespersen’s Cycle and one persistent polarity item

(p.173) 6 Renewal and stability
Negation and Nonveridicality in the History of Greek

Katerina Chatzopoulou

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the Greek negator transformations in relation to Jespersen’s Cycle. The developments of NEG1 and NEG2 in Greek do not properly qualify as instances of Jespersen’s Cycle in the traditional understanding of the phenomenon, as it did not manifest a doubling stage. A new approach for Jespersen’s Cycle is proposed, which accommodates not only Greek, but also various other atypical languages that deviate in one way or another from the traditional morphosyntactic description of the phenomenon. It is proposed that Jespersen’s Cycle is a diachronic phenomenon whose regularities are to be found in the semantics. An overview is also provided of the diachronically stable functions of NEG2, which are the COMP-related functions of NEG2 μη‎. It is argued that NEG2 μη‎ did not eventually renew, because of the inertial pressures of its several nonnegative functions, which, being nonnegative, were not affected by Jespersen’s Cycle phenomena.

Keywords:   Jespersen’s Cycle, grammaticalization, complementizer position

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