Negation in Morphology
Karen De Clercq
June 2019
 

Negative markers are not a uniform category. They come in various types and, depending on their type, they take scope over a clause, a phrase or just a word. Low scope negative markers (LSN) like "de-, dis-, un-, iN-, non-, -less" are bound morphemes and have therefore been mainly studied within morphology, focussing on the semantics of these markers (contradiction vs. contrariety), issues related to their productivity, and their combinability with certain categories. Wide scope negative markers (WSN), like "not" are often free morphemes, and are usually treated within syntax. We could thus say that there is a morphology-syntax divide when it comes to the treatment of negative markers. However, there are reasons to give up this divide and to uniformly treat negative markers within one module of the grammar. First, from a typological point of view the bound-free divide of negative markers does not correlate with their scope. For instance, agglutinative languages have WSN markers that are bound morphemes attaching to the verbal base. Second, morphological processes, like suppletion or other types of allomorphy, can be observed in markers that show properties of WSN markers. Third, independent negative particles, like for instance the Dutch free morpheme "weinig" `little, few', shares stacking properties with other LSN markers like un- and iN-. Fourth, both LSN and WSN markers are subject to the same constraint concerning stacking scopally identical negative markers. Fifth, syncretisms have been found across languages between WSN and LSN, allowing negative markers to be ordered in such a way that no *ABA patterns arise, suggesting that the morphology of negative markers reflects the natural scope of negation and that there is a continuum between LSN and WSN markers.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004637
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted to Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics
keywords: negation, scope, morphology, nanosyntax, english, korean, morphology, syntax
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