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Loss of Negative Concord in Standard English

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The loss of NC has long been attributed to external factors. This study readdresses this issue and provides evidence for the failu... Weiterlesen
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The loss of NC has long been attributed to external factors. This study readdresses this issue and provides evidence for the failure of certain external factors to account for the observed decline and ultimate disappearance of NC in Standard English. A detailed study of negation in Late Middle and Early Modern English reveals that the process of decline of NC was a case of a natural change, preceded by a period of variation. Variation existed not only on the level of the speech community as a whole but also within individual speakers (contra Lightfoot 1991). A close study of n-indefinites in negative contexts and their ultimate replacement with NPIs in a number of grammatical environments shows that the decline of NC follows the same pattern across contexts in a form of PARALLEL CURVATURE, which indicates that the loss of NC is a natural process. This study reveals that the decline takes place at the same rate in all observed contexts, something consistent with Kroch's Constant Rate Effect. A CONTEXT CONSTANCY EFFECT is obtained across all contexts indicating that the loss of NC is triggered by a change in a single underlying parameter setting. Accordingly, a theory-internal explanation is suggested. N-words underwent a lexical reanalysis whereby they acquired a new grammatical feature [+Neg] and were thus reinterpreted as negative quantifiers, rather than NPIs. This lexical reanalysis was triggered by the ambiguous status of n-words between [ANeg] and thus between single and double negative meanings. This change is treated as a case of parameter resetting as this lexical reanalysis affected a whole set of lexical items and can thus economically account for the different observed surface changes.


Titel: Loss of Negative Concord in Standard English
Untertitel: A Case of Lexical Reanalysis
EAN: 9781443828154
Digitaler Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM
Format: E-Book (pdf)
Hersteller: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Genre: Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Veröffentlichung: 18.01.2011