English contracted negation revisited: Evidence from varieties of Scots

Gary Thoms, David Adger, Caroline Heycock, E Jamieson, Jennifer Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article is concerned with the syntactic position of negation and how that connects to negation’s morphological realization and semantic and pragmatic effects. We focus on the case of contracted negation in English, which may appear both before and after the grammatical subject, and which has been classically analysed as involving a single syntactic element placed by syntactic rule into distinct linear positions. We will argue that this analysis is incorrect, and that, in fact, there are multiple negations in English which are not related by a syntactic movement rule. We use the rich and complex morphosyntactic and semantico-pragmatic variation in the behavior of negation in varieties of Scots to motivate the argument and to develop a new approach that comes with both empirical and theoretical advantages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-759
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • negation
  • clitic
  • affix
  • microcomparative syntax
  • varieties of English
  • Scots


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