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Marking presuppositional negation in the dialects of southern Italy

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In contrast to the dialects of northern Italy which, given their rich variety of grammaticalized minimizers, have been the subject of a considerable number of semantic and syntactic studies, negation in the dialects of southern Italy has received very little attention since they appear to present very little lexical and morphosyntactic variation in this area. In this article, by contrast, I show that the linguistic expression of emphatic negation displays considerable variation in the dialects of southern Italy, including the syntactic marking of presuppositional negation through verb movement in some dialects and through the grammaticalizaton of an original lexical minimizer filu ‘thread’ in others. Among other things, the southern Italian evidence will be shown to support the idea that within the area of emphatic negation the binary opposition between presuppositional negators (‘after all…not’) and negative completive/intensive negators (‘not at all/even’) is more fluid than traditionally assumed, and, following proposals in Garzonio (2008a,b), that these two values can in some southerndialects correspond to twodistinct positions within the lower portion of the functional clause structure. Significantly, it will be demonstrated that in certain cases both of these positions can be simultaneously lexicalized through distinct functional items or be derivationally related through movement from one position to the other.



Marking presuppositional negation in the dialects of southern Italy


47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4704 Linguistics

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Studies on Negation

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