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Abstract

Abstract

The present article examines the claim in the literature that the negative first principle, i.e. the preference for the order negation-verb to verb-negation, is stronger in negative imperatives (or prohibitives) than in negative declaratives. To test this hypothesis, we develop – in contrast to earlier research – a systematic, three-way classification of languages, which is also operationalized as a ranking capturing the overall level of strength of the principle. This classification is applied to a genealogically and geographically balanced sample of 179 languages. In addition, we consider the role of several factors known to correlate with the position of negation – like its form, constituent order and areality. However, no cross-linguistic evidence is found for any difference in negation’s position between negative imperatives and negative declaratives. We therefore conclude that the hypothesis should be rejected.

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/content/journals/10.1075/sl.19036.van
2021-08-06
2021-09-24
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