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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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The development of negation in Low German

The development of negation in Low German

(p.143) 5 The development of negation in Low German
The History of Low German Negation

Anne Breitbarth

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the development of the expression of standard sentential negation and of the expression of indefinite quantification in the scope of negation in the history of Low German is analysed using the account outlined in chapter 4. The clitic negation particle present at the start of attestation undergoes a lexical split when a new negative marker enters the language: it eventually loses its negation feature in negative clauses once the new marker becomes an unemphatic negator, but becomes a high C-related marker without sentential scope in exceptive clauses. As the new negator only partially matching the features of the n-marked indefinites in Middle Low German, the availability of negative spread, but absence of negative doubling is accounted for. It is shown how formal and functional external motivations restrict the application of the third factor principles, giving rise to the particular time structure of the Low German changes.

Keywords:   syntactic change, interpretable/uninterpretable features, third-factor principles, inertia, exceptive clauses, Jespersen’s Cycle, negative concord, Old Low German, Middle Low German

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