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A non-overt negative operator in French

Rowlett, PA 1998, 'A non-overt negative operator in French' , Probus, 10 (2) , pp. 185-206.

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Abstract

This paper addresses negative ne, N eg0, in French which is restricted to contexts of sentential (as opposed to constituent) negation. This association is attributed to a single mechanism: ne is licensed and sentential negation is marked via Dynamic Agreement in an S-Structure spec-head configuration with a negative operator in SpecNegP, whereby the [+NEG] feature of the operator is transmitted to Neg°. This conclusion explains central propeties of the negative operator pas. While pas can appear in situ, below SpecNegP, it cannot license nefrom such a position and it has narrow scope; to license ne and have wide scope, pas must overtly raise to SpecNegP. This analysis works well where sentential negation is marked by pas but there are problems where sentential negation is marked, for example, by plus or rien, which will be termed associates. In such contexts, ne can be licensed and sentential negation marked without the associate occupying SpecNegP at SStructure. Other authors have solved the problem by assuming: (a) that associates are negative operators like pas; (b) that they raise to SpecNegP at LF; and, (c) that it is at LF that ne is licensed and sentential negation marked. This analysis is problematic since it provides no principled account for why pas cannot raise to SpecNegP at LF too. In this paper, in contrast, S-Structure is maintained as the relevant level of representation. The inability of pas to mark sentential negation and license ne from below SpecNegP is thus explained. As for the problematic associates, it is argued that these are not in fact negative operators. Rather, the negative operator which occupies SpecNegP — licensing ne and marking sentential negation — is a non-oven element: Op, an alternative surface form (with distinct licensing conditions) to pas of the same lexical item. Crucially, Op occupies SpecNegP at S-Structure and the original analysis ofnt licensing can be maintained.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Probus
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0921-4471
Depositing User: Professor Paul Rowlett
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2010 12:41
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:43
URI: http://usir.eprints.org/id/eprint/12521

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