- Negative Concord in Afrikaans: Filling the typological gap
- Journal of Semantics
- Volume | Issue number
- 29 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Many languages exhibit Negative Concord (NC), with multiple morphosyntactic instances of negation corresponding to one semantic negation. Traditionally, NC languages are distinguished as Strict and Non-strict (cf. Giannakidou 2000). In the former (e.g. Czech), multiple negative elements may or even must precede the finite verb, whereas in Non-strict NC languages, like Italian, only one negative element may precede the finite verb. In a recent analysis of NC (Zeijlstra 2004, 2008b), NC is analysed as an instance of syntactic agreement between one or more negative elements that are formally, but not semantically, negative and a single, potentially unrealized semantically negative operator. On this analysis, the difference between Strict and Non-strict NC languages reduces to the semantic value of the negative marker: in Strict NC languages, both negative indefinites and negative markers are semantically non-negative; in Non-strict NC languages, by contrast, only negative indefinites are semantically non-negative, negative markers being semantically negative. This analysis predicts the existence of a third type of NC language, namely one where negative indefinites are semantically negative, but negative markers are not. This paper demonstrates that a particular variety of Afrikaans (the standard) instantiates a language of exactly this type: while pairs of negative indefinites always yield a Double Negation reading in this variety, negative markers can be stacked incrementally without giving rise to a new negation.
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