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The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the MediterraneanVolume II: Patterns and Processes$
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Anne Breitbarth, Christopher Lucas, and David Willis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199602544.001.0001

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Internal motivations and formal approaches

Internal motivations and formal approaches

(p.73) 3 Internal motivations and formal approaches
The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the Mediterranean

Anne Breitbarth

Christopher Lucas

David Willis

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the language-internal motivations for the processes observed in chapter 2, in particular, the change from negative polarity adverb to negator. The chapter discusses what motivates the actuation of a new postverbal marker or negative quantifier, what obstacles need to be overcome in order to complete this process, and what processes lie behind the loss or exaptation of the original negation markers after such a development. It is argued that both functional and formal factors play a role in explaining the diachronic development of markers of negation in Jespersen’s cycle. In particular, a negation phrase (NegP)-free account making use of economy principles (Minimize Structure and Feature Economy) is proposed to capture the typological and diachronic variation of negative markers.

Keywords:   Jespersen’s cycle, negative polarity adverb, grammaticalization, (upward) reanalysis, indefinite quantifier, NegP, economy principle, Economy of Representation, Minimize Structure, Feature Economy

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