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date: 27 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates children’s acquisition of negation from a cross-linguistic perspective. The chapter reviews topics in the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of negation in children’s grammars. Discussion of the syntax of negation in early grammars includes the hierarchical position of negation in children’s early structures, internal versus external negation, and the syntactic category of the negative marker. Topics relevant to 3- to 5-year-old grammars include children’s access to double negation, whether or not children acquiring Standard English permit negative concord as part of their core grammar, and children’s negative question structures. Children’s acquisition of the semantics of negation is covered in a discussion of negation as a licensor of any and of disjunction. The investigations underline the importance of providing appropriate pragmatic contexts in experiments targeting children’s production and comprehension of negation.

Keywords: sentential negation, external negation, Continuity, negative adverb, head form of negation, double negation, negative concord, negative polarity, disjunction under negation

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