UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 10 (1998)

Negation, polarity and V positions in English


The distribution with respect to negation of verbs and auxiliaries in English needs a new analysis. Using data from the behaviour of modals, we argue for three negation positions: Echoic, Polarity, and Adverbial. The main claim we make is that Polarity Negation and Echoic Negation (and their Positive counterparts) have a categorial feature [V]. This fact explains why a verb cannot, but an auxiliary may, occur higher than Pol[NEG]. Soft constraints on the distribution of the Infl with which each [V] head must be associated determine the PF positions of the inflected heads.

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