Syntax of reduplication and negative-polarity items in Buli

Ken Hiraiwa, George Akanlig-Pare


Negative-polarity items in Buli, a Mabia (Gur) language spoken in Ghana, exhibit a mixed behavior between NCIs and NPIs (or between strong NPIs and weak NPIs). Thus, Buli presents a counterexample to Vallduvı's generalization that negative-polarity items come in two kinds. Adopting and extending the framework of Collins & Postal (2014) and Collins et al. (2017), we will show that the apparently mysterious mixed behavior of negative-polarity items in Buli can be explained by articulating an unary-NEG structure and syntax of reduplication.


negative polarity item; negative concord item; DP; reduplication; noun class; Mabia/Gur languages

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