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Lexical variation and Negative Concord in Traditional Dialects of British English

Abstract

In the present paper I investigate, from a Minimalist perspective and using data from the Freiburg English Dialect corpus, the patterns of Negative Concord (NC) attested in different Traditional Dialects of British English. By arguing that lexical variation exists in the negative operator used to express sentential negation, which is truly semantic in Standard English but carries an interpretable negative feature in Traditional Dialects of British English, I explain why NC, understood as syntactic Agree between [iNeg] and [uNeg] features, is attested in the latter but not in the former. In the same vein, by arguing that in Traditional Dialects of British English two lexical entries are possible for n-words which contrast in the interpretability of the negative feature they carry ([iNeg] vs. [uNeg]), the optionality of NC in the studied Non-Standard dialects of English as well as the different patterns observed in the data can be accounted for.

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Tubau, S. Lexical variation and Negative Concord in Traditional Dialects of British English. J Comp German Linguistics 19, 143–177 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10828-016-9079-4

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Keywords

  • Negative Concord
  • Lexical variation
  • Negative quantifiers
  • N-words
  • Standard English
  • Traditional Dialects of British English