Negative concord as a marker of empty discourse referents

Jeremy David Kuhn


Negative concord items are restricted to a narrow set of negative environments: roughly, those that are anti-additive or anti-veridical. These environments share the property that they prevent discourse referents from being introduced.
Here, I propose that this is the explanatory property of NC items. NC items are indefinites that flag the fact (in their lexical semantics) that they will fail to introduce a discourse referent. After spelling this out using dynamic semantics, I show that it has number of advantages: (i) It correctly predicts that NC items must appear under a local anti-veridical operator. (ii) If the presupposition that the DR set is empty is made at-issue, we predict negative uses of NC items: exactly what's attested in fragment answers and non-strict concord languages. (iii) It perfectly unites negative concord with recent analyses of other concord phenomena.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Jeremy David Kuhn