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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.188) 6 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 argues that, while the creation of indefinites from generic nouns is grammaticalization in the form of upwards reanalysis from N to R, the quantifier and free-choice cycles do not in fact constitute instances of grammaticalization. Indefinites restricted to stronger negative-polarity contexts are not more functional than indefinites licensed in weaker negative-polarity contexts. Rather, it is argued that implicational semantic features requiring roofing by different types of operators situated in the Q head of indefinites, and in particular the way they are acquired in first language acquisition, are responsible for the diachronic developments. Negative concord items arise through an acquisitional mechanism maximizing the number of agreement relations in the acquired grammar consistent with the primary linguistic data.

Keywords:   quantifier cycle, free-choice cycle, grammaticalization, (upward) reanalysis, indefinite quantifier, negative polarity, negative polarity item, negative concord, language acquisition, Accord Maximization Principle

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