This chapter first situates the work against the background of the existing literature. It further introduces the key concepts and terminology used in the volume. After an explanation of the difference between standard negation and sentential negation, the cyclical changes affecting the expression of negation, as well as the typical types of interaction between indefinites and the expression of negation are introduced. Finally, the theoretical framework used in the volume is sketched. As the chapter considers both language-internal motivations for the changes affecting negative expressions and indefinites in the scope of negation, and language-external ones, the theoretical background for both are discussed in separate sections.
Keywords: standard negation, sentential negation, Jespersen’s cycle, quantifier cycle, negative concord, indefinite, negative quantifier, negative concord item, negative polarity item, mechanisms of language change
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