A negative cycle in 12th-15th-century Hungarian

É. Kiss, Katalin (2015) A negative cycle in 12th-15th-century Hungarian. In: Syntax over Time: Lexical, Morphological, and Information-Structural Interactions. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 86-101. ISBN 9780199687923


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This paper analyzes the changes having taken place in the syntax of negation in 12-15th century Hungarian. It points out a change in the position of the negative particle, and shows it to be related to the change of basic word order from ’SOV’ to ’TopFocVX*’. The central topic of the paper is a negative cycle induced by the morphological fusion of the negative particle with different types of indefinites in the scope of negation. The opaqueness of the resulting morphological complexes necessitated the reintroduction of negation into sentences with indefinites, and led to the reinterpretation of negative indefinites as expressions with no negative force, participating in negative concord. The newly introduced negative particle, though morphologically identical with the negative particle that was input to the fusion with indefinites, assumed a different syntactic status in the new ’TopFocVX*’ sentence structure; it acted as a functional head, eliciting verb movement. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 provides a background by surveying the syntax of negation in present-day Hungarian. Section 3 describes the structural positions of the negative particle in Old Hungarian, and section 4 analyzes the syntax of Old Hungarian negative indefinite noun phrases and pronouns. Both sections point out an archaic pattern surviving from Proto-Hungarian, as well as a new variant. Section 5 attempts to reconstruct the diachronic process emerging from the declining and novel patterns of negation in 12-15th century Hungarian documents.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > P0 Philology. Linguistics / filológia, nyelvészet
Depositing User: Dr Katalin É. Kiss
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2016 18:25
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2016 18:25

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