'No' changes: On the history of German indefinite determiners in the scope of negation

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This paper investigates the evolution of nominal determination of a specific kind, viz. indefinite determination in the scope of negation. Four basic syntactic patterns of indefi nite nominal determination in the scope of negation are distinguished. The changes within the system of indefi nite determination in the history of German with respect to these four patterns are described on the basis of their distribution in a corpus of several Old and Middle High German texts. More specifi cally, the development and distribution of <i>dehein </i>/ <i>kein </i>is investigated. While the original n-word determiner <i>nehein </i>(‘no’) and the second NPI (negative polarity item) determiner <i>einig </i>(‘any’) were virtually lost, <i>dehein </i>/ <i>kein </i>changed from a weak NPI comparable to <i>any </i>and licensed in various non-affirmative contexts into an n-word.


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