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date: 24 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the relevance of data from non-standard varieties to our understanding of natural language negation, and in particular, to theories which seek to model and explain natural language properties. The chapter focuses specifically on the different types of Negative Concord exhibited in non-standard Englishes, in West Flemish, and in Romance varieties, showing that in relation to Standard English, Standard Dutch, and Standard French, these non-standard languages exhibit much more intricate points of syntactic variation. The theoretical relevance of subject/non-subject asymmetries, the lexical nature of postverbal negative constituents, and intra-speaker variability in the expression of negation are discussed. The syntactic structures examined reveal that when non-standard languages serve as the main reference point in linguistic theory, this extends the hypothesis space in crucial ways, and more fruitful and revealing cross-linguistic comparisons can be made.

Keywords: bilectalism, multiple grammars, negation, negative polarity items, non-standard varieties, negative concord, standard varieties, standardization, variants, variability

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