Kuhn, Jeremy. 2018. The dynamics of negative concord.
Manuscript, Institut Jean-Nicod (CNRS), Ecole Normale Supérieure.
paper at LingBuzz]
Concord describes a natural language phenomenon in which a single logical meaning is
expressed syntactically on multiple lexical items. The canonical example is negative
concord, in which multiple negative expressions are used, but a single negation is
interpreted. Formally similar phenomena have been observed for the redundant marking of
distributivity and definiteness. Inspired by recent dynamic analyses of these latter two
phenomena, we extend a similar dynamic analysis to negative concord. We propose that
negative concord items introduce a discourse referent (like an existential), but then
test that no discourse referent has been introduced in any assignment. These apparently
contradictory requirements are licensed with split scope around negation: introduction
occurs below negation; the test appears above it. The analysis successfully predicts that
negative concord items must be licensed by a sufficiently local negative operator. We
further show that modulation of what is at-issue can account for cases in which NC items
themselves carry negative force.
Keywords: Negative concord, dynamic semantics, split scope