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Focus and the development of N-words in Spanish

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Geoffrey Poole


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During Spain’s ‘Golden Age’ period, n-words in Spanish, such as nada ‘nothing’, changed from being negative polarity items to negative concord items. During the same period, immediately pre-verbal n-words, which previously had expressed wide-focus for VP constitutes, came to acquire a mildly emphatic interpretation, which survives into the modern language as Quantifier Fronting (Quer 2002) or ‘verum-focus’ fronting (Leonetti & Escandell Vidal 2007, 2009). This development, in which negative polarity items seem to acquire a focus feature in the context of becoming negative concord items, is of particular interest because it provides indirect support for Watanabe’s (2004) account of negative concord, in which a focus feature is crucially implicated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Poole G

Editor(s): Berns, J., Jacobs, H., Scheer, T.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2009: Selected Papers from "Going Romance" Nice 2009

Year: 2011

Volume: 3

Pages: 291-303

Series Title: Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company

Place Published: Amsterdam

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789027203830