Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 409–452 | Cite as

Positive Polarity – Negative Polarity

  • Anna Szabolcsi


Positive polarity items (PPIs) are generally thought to have the boringproperty that they cannot scope below negation. The starting point of the paper is theobservation that their distribution is significantly more complex; specifically,someone/something-type PPIs share properties with negative polarity items (NPIs). First,these PPIs are disallowed in the same environments that license yet-type NPIs; second,adding any NPI-licenser rescues the illegitimate constellation. This leads to theconclusion that these PPIs have the combined properties of yet-type and ever-type NPIs:what appears to be a prohibition is nothing but `halfway licensing'. The paper goes on topropose a unification of the analyses of rescuable PPIs, NPIs, and negative concord, andquestions the grounding of polarity sensitivity in the scalar or the referential semantics ofthe items involved.


Artificial Intelligence Negative Polarity Positive Polarity Polarity Sensitivity Share Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Szabolcsi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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