Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 263–287 | Cite as

Licensing of Negative Polarity Items in Moroccan Arabic

  • Elabbas Benmamoun


This paper deals with the syntactic constraints on the licensing of the negative polarity item (NPI) hetta + NP ‘any NP‘ in Moroccan Arabic. It explores various asymmetries that arise in the context of the interaction between NPIs and the licensing negative head. These asymmetries raise various important issues that go to the heart of current syntactic debates concerning the appropriate syntactic configurations where certain syntactic relations must obtain. It is shown that the NPI hetta + NP ‘any NP‘ must be either c-commanded by or in overt Spec-head relation with the negative head ma ‘not‘ within the same clause. We explore hypotheses that dispense with this disjunction, such as overt M-command or Spec-head agreement plus LF movement. Finally, we show, on the basis of various arguments from reconstruction and locality, that such a reduction is not empirically viable.


Artificial Intelligence Negative Polarity Polarity Item Syntactic Relation Negative Polarity Item 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elabbas Benmamoun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Linguistics, School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonRussell SquareLondon

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