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The History of Low German Negation$
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Anne Breitbarth

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687282.001.0001

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Theoretical background

Theoretical background

4 Theoretical background
The History of Low German Negation

Anne Breitbarth

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the assumptions regarding syntactic change in general and change in the expression of negation in particular, and discusses different approaches to the syntax of negation and negative concord. It is argued that a NegP-free account is more elegant and empirically adequate than the traditional NegP-based accounts. It is argued that negative markers are phrases with internal structure such as argued for pronouns (Cardinaletti and Starke 1999) and modal particles (Grosz 2007). The position in the clause of different types of negators is determined by their licensing requirements depending on the amount of structure they lack, not because of a fixed negative projection. Diachronically, 'weaker' forms are derived from 'stronger' forms by two third-factor principles—Minimize Structure and Feature Economy—given triggers provided through other changes (‘inertia’, Keenan 1994, Longobardi 2001). For negative concord, a Pairwise Agree account with maximal matching (Haegeman and Lohndal 2010) is adopted.

Keywords:   syntactic change, NegP, structural deficiency, third-factor principles, Minimize Structure, Feature Economy, inertia, negative concord, Pairwise Agree, interpretable/uninterpretable features

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