Negative Concord in English
This paper argues that Negative Concord is generated by the grammars of all English varieties, but just not “realized” in the standardized variety, in the sense of Barbiers (2005, 2009). I show that Double Negation constructions, wherein two negative elements yield a doubly negated meaning, are formed identically by English varieties that realize Negative Concord and those that do not. Unlike previous Minimalist Agree approaches to English Negative Concord, this proposal accounts for the fact that English varieties generate both Double Negation and Negative Concord constructions. This paper employs Tortora’s (2009, in press) mechanism of feature spreading, and López’s (2009) derivational assignment of the pragmatic feature [contrast], to successfully capture the facts of Negative Concord and Double Negation in English. In so doing, it contributes insight into the representation of sentential negation, and supports the Barbiersian notion that not all grammatical structures are realized in a given variety.
Keywords: Negative Concord, syntax, Double Negation, contrast, Appalachian English, African American English, feature spreading, English varieties, sentential negation
Published online: 18 December 2013
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