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Competing reinforcements

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Abstract

Drawing on recent developments in Afrikaans and Brazilian Portuguese, this paper proposes a syntactic constraint, alongside previously identified phonological and pragmatic ones, on progression in Jespersen&#8217;s (1917) Cycle/ JC. In particular, it argues that languages which draw on structurally high negative reinforcers and subsequently grammaticalise these as concord-elements will not replace the original sentential negator with this element, as would otherwise be expected in the context of JC. Languages of this type may, however, employ alternative reinforcement strategies, which in many cases draw on the same lexical stock as JC. A language may thus <i>appear</i> to have undergone a JC-related development without actually having done so.

References

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