On the Subject of Negative Auxiliary Inversion
Frances Blanchette, Chris Collins
July 2017

This paper presents a novel analysis of Negative Auxiliary Inversion (NAI) constructions such as ‘didn’t many people eat’, in which a negated auxiliary appears in pre-subject position. NAI, found in varieties including Appalachian, African American, and West Texas English, has a word order identical to a yes/no question, but receives a declarative interpretation. We propose that NAI subjects are negative DPs, and that the negation raises from the subject DP to cliticize to Fin (a functional head in the left periphery). Three properties of NAI motivate this analysis: (i) scope freezing effects, (ii) the various possible and impossible NAI subject types, and (iii) the incompatibility of NAI constructions with true Double Negation interpretations. Implications for theories of Negative Concord, Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) and the representation of negation are discussed.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003555
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: none
keywords: negative auxiliary inversion, negated quantifier phrases, quantifier scope freezing, negative concord, double negation, negative polarity items, syntax
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