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Indefinites between Latin and Romance$
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Chiara Gianollo

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812661.001.0001

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Indefinites and negation in the history of Latin

Indefinites and negation in the history of Latin

(p.137) 4 Indefinites and negation in the history of Latin
Indefinites between Latin and Romance

Chiara Gianollo

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a study of Latin indefinites in direct-negation contexts. These indefinites are interesting from a theoretical point of view because of their extreme dependence on the surrounding structural conditions, and because of the variety of their instantiations in different linguistic systems. Two phenomena of Latin grammar with wide-ranging implications for the development of Romance indefinites are discussed: the syntax of negation and the diachronic pathways followed by indefinites interacting with it. Latin is a Double Negation language, whereas Early Romance exhibits Negative Concord. The study proposes that this typological shift is linked to another major change from Latin to Romance, namely the change from OV to VO. Late Latin is analyzed as a ‘concealed’ nonstrict Negative Concord language, in which restrictions in the use of the ‘old’ negative indefinites emerge, as well as new patterns with (new) negative-polarity items.

Keywords:   Jespersen’s Cycle, negative indefinite, n-word, negative polarity item, negation, Classical Latin, Late Latin, syntactic change, Negative Concord, Double Negation

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