Negative Indefinites

ISBN : 9780199567263

Doris Penka
280 Pages
163 x 244 mm
Pub date
Dec 2010
Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics
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In this book, Doris Penka delivers a cross-linguistic, unified analysis of the semantics and syntax of negative indefinites, as in the expressions nobody, nothing, no (as determiner), never and nowhere and their counterparts in other languages. While it is standard to assume that negative indefinites behave like negative quantifiers, the author argues that these expressions are not inherently negative and are only licensed by a covert negation. In an analysis motivated by three phenomena found in the structure and semantics of negative indefinites in different languages - namely negative concord (in which multiple occurrences of negative constituents express a single negation), split readings (in which negative and indefinite parts take scope independently of each other), and the limited distribution of negative indefinites in Scandinavian languages - Doris Penka considers data from a wide range of languages and reviews the most recent literature on the semantics and syntax of negative indefinites. Her book will interest all linguists working on negation in particular and the syntax-semantics interface more generally.


1. Introduction
2. Negative Concord
3. Split Scope of NIs in German
4. Scope Splitting With Other Downward Entailing Quantifiers
5. Distributional Restrictions in Scandinavian
6. The Nature of the Licensing Relation
7. Tests for the Quantificational Force of Negative Indefinites
8. Summary

About the author: 

Doris Penka is a postdoctoral researcher in the Zukunftskolleg and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz. Her research focuses on the syntax-semantics interface, in particular the interaction of negation and quantification. Negative Indefinites is a reworking of her 2007 dissertation.

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