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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although decades of research have illuminated the licensing requirements, both syntactic and semantic, of negative polarity items, the matter of how these licensing requirements are satisfied in real time, as a sentence is being processed, remains an ill-understood problem. Grammatical illusions—cases where native speakers, as they comprehend an ungrammatical sentence, experience a fleeting perception of acceptability—offer a window into online computations like NPI licensing. This chapter reviews the findings on negative polarity illusions, their parallels (and, in some cases, the lack of parallels) with other grammaticality illusions, and the implications of this line of research for understanding the incremental processing of negative sentences as well as negative polarity phenomena more broadly.

Keywords: negative polarity, grammatical illusion, sentence processing, quantifiers, licensing

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