The Negative Cycles

Elly van Gelderen

in The Linguistic Cycle

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756056
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896882 | DOI:
The Negative Cycles

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The Negative Cycle may be one of the most pervasive of cyclical changes. This chapter provides examples of (partial) negative cycles from a variety of languages and show that there are two grammaticalization paths, one involving an indefinite phrase and one a verbal head. Old Norse provides a good instance of the first cycle and Chinese of the second. Other languages mix the two, e.g. those in the Uralic, Afro-Asiatic, and Athabascan families. Compared to the agreement cycle, the negative cycle (and technically it is not one cycle but two) is a minor one since no language will be characterized as synthetic or analytic just on the basis of the negative.

Keywords: negation; indefinite; minimizer; negative concord; emphatic

Chapter.  17354 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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