Negation and the functional sequence

  • Karen De Clercq
  • Guido Vanden Wyngaerd


There exists a general restriction on admissible functional sequences which prevents adjacent identical heads. We investigate a particular instantiation of this restriction in the domain of negation. Empirically, it manifests itself as a restriction the stacking of multiple negative morphemes. We propose a principled account of this restriction in terms of the general ban on immediately consecutive identical heads in the functional sequence on the one hand, and the presence of a Neg feature inside negative morphemes on the other hand. The account predicts that the stacking of multiple negative morphemes should be possible provided they are separated by intervening levels of structure. We show that this prediction is borne out.


Negation Adjectives Decomposition Nanosyntax 



We wish to thank the audiences at the 2015 Spring meeting of the Belgian Linguistic Society, the 2015 Morphology Days (Leuven), the 2016 edition of the Grote Taaldag (Utrecht), WCCFL 34 (Salt Lake City), SinFonIJA 9 (Brno), the members of the GIST-research group at Ghent University, those of the ComForT research group at KU Leuven, the NLLT reviewers, Larry Horn, and Nicolas Ruytenbeek for their useful comments. We are grateful to Pavel Caha and Michal Starke for their feedback on an earlier version of this paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FWO/Ghent UniversityGentBelgium
  2. 2.KU LeuvenBrusselBelgium

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