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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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(p.175) 6 Conclusion
The History of Low German Negation

Anne Breitbarth

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarises the empirical and theoretical findings of the book and points out their wider significance. The main developments regarding the expression of negation in historical Low German are the grammaticalization of a new negator from a negative indefinite (niouuiht > nicht) (Jespersen’s Cycle), the loss of the original negator ne/en (and its exaptation in exceptive clauses as a C-element), and the changing interaction between the expression of sentential negation and indefinites in its scope (negative concord). The wider significance of the book lies in it being the first large-scale diachronic study of the development of negation in historical Low German, both empirically and theoretically. On the theoretical level, a novel proposal was made to treat the development of negative markers in terms of third-factor principles. The grammaticalization stages of negative markers are characterized by different internal structure affecting their external syntax, combined with a Minimalist feature system.

Keywords:   negation, Jespersen’s Cycle, negative concord, negative indefinites, exceptive clauses, grammaticalization, language change, third-factor principles, features

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