Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On the Subject of Negative Auxliliary Inversion

Here is a new paper about negation co-written with Frances Blanchette. We investigate NAI which is a construction found in some varieties of English (not mine):

(1) Ain't nobody done you wrong.

In this example one has both negative concord (n't and nobody represent together one semantic negation), and NAI (since the auxiliary appears to the left of the subject). We present three properties of NAI, and show how all of them follow from the following assumption:

(2) In NAI, the subject is negative.

Actually, it turns out that (2) does not have to be stipulated. Although (2) clearly holds for (1) we also show it holds for (3):

(3) Didn’t many people go to the party.

In our analysis, (3) has the subject [NEG [many people]], and NEG cliticizes to Fin.

This paper is the strongest argument since Horn clauses for the analysis of some NPIs as unary NEG structures, which was a key assumption of CP2014, and which is completely contrary to mainstream assumptions about negative polarity items.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Curriculum Vitae (July 2017)

Here is the most recent version of my CV. If anybody wants any of the papers, books, handouts, or has any other questions, let me know.

Incomplete Comparatives as Ellipsis

I have been sitting on this paper for around two years. I don't know what prevented me from finishing a distribution draft. Perhaps, I did not have enough time, especially while I was Botswana. Or I was not fully convinced of the judgments. Lastly, there are lots of mysteries (especially about islands) that really bug me. I feel the solutions are in reach, but I don't know what they are. It is possible that I am afraid others will step in and come up with the solutions to the mysteries before I can. Whatever the reason, here it is. It forms the last paper in a sequence with some other papers of mine (available on Lingbuzz): "Relative Clause Deletion", "Adjunct Deletion", "Quantifier Domain Restriction" (and more distantly the phenomena of 'ghosting' in Collins and Postal 2012). These are all very non-standard cases of ellipsis, and none of the 'ellipserati' (a term I learned from Matthew Barros, coined by Ken Safir) would accept them, I believe.