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The Oxford Reference Guide to English Morphology$
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Laurie Bauer, Rochelle Lieber, and Ingo Plag

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747062

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747062.001.0001

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(p.354) Chapter 17 Negatives
The Oxford Reference Guide to English Morphology

Laurie Bauer

Rochelle Lieber

Ingo Plag

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines affixal negation in English. A broad definition of negation is used here, including along with standard negatives (‘not X’) also privatives (‘without X’ or ‘remove X from’), reversatives (‘reverse action of VERBing’), and verbal pejoratives (‘do X wrongly, badly’). The affixes examined are in-, un-, non-, a-, dis-, de-, -less, mis-, and mal-. The chapter considers the extent to which these affixes are semantically distinct, and discusses claims in past literature that negative affixes avoid attaching to already negative bases. The compositionality of the different kinds of negative interpretations is also discussed.

Keywords:   negative, privative, reversative, verbal pejoratives, affixal negation, competition, polysemy

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