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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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Empirical generalizations

Empirical generalizations

(p.151) 5 Empirical generalizations
The History of Negation in the Languages of Europe and the Mediterranean

Anne Breitbarth

Christopher Lucas

David Willis

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that, across languages, indefinites show a tendency to become increasingly restricted to ever-stronger negative polarity contexts, eventually becoming restricted to the scope of negation and beginning to enter negative-concord relations. It is shown that developments affecting indefinites can be grouped into two types of development: a quantifier cycle and a free-choice cycle. In the former, indefinites gradually change from (more) positive to (more) negative, in the latter, original free-choice indefinites become NPI-indefinites. It is also shown that negative quantifiers do not typically arise through either development, but through univerbation with a former negative particle. Apparently countercyclic developments can be observed as well. The chapter concludes with an overview of the typology of negative concord, and the diachronic connections between the types of negative concord.

Keywords:   quantifier cycle, free-choice cycle, indefinite quantifier, negative polarity, negative polarity item, negative concord

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