Negative changes: three factors and the diachrony of Afrikaans negation

Theresa Biberauer and Hedde Zeijlstra

in Parameter Theory and Linguistic Change

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659203
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745188 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics

Negative changes: three factors and the diachrony of Afrikaans negation

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This chapter focuses on variation in the modern Afrikaans negation system. Standard Afrikaans (Afrikaans A) is a typologically rare system where multiple negative markers and negative markers combining with negative indefinites exhibit negative concord (NC), but multiple negative indefinites do not. A particular modern variety (Afrikaans B) features, in addition to the negative indefinite-related departure from Afrikaans A, 'extra' uses of the clause-final negative marker (nie). The chapter shows that there are at least three potential formal pathways via which Afrikaans A could become Afrikaans B. It rejects these, viewed from an acquisition perspective, and suggests that Afrikaans A is not acquirable on the basis of PLD alone, and 'third factor' acquisition considerations seem to favour the acquisition of a strict NC system. This predicts Afrikaans A as an unstable system, vulnerable to variation and, in the absence of prescriptive input, change, a prediction which appears to be correct.

Keywords: Afrikaans; formal features; negation; negative concord; primary linguistic data; third factor considerations; unstable system

Chapter.  11058 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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