The dynamics of negative concord

Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):153-198 (2022)


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, 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.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,855

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

7 (#1,076,119)

6 months
4 (#162,539)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jeremy Kuhn
Institut Jean Nicod

Similar books and articles

The Negative Concord Puzzle Revisited.Elena Herburger - 2001 - Natural Language Semantics 9 (3):289-333.
Strict and Non-Strict Negative Concord in Hungarian: A Unified Analysis.Anna Szabolcsi - 2018 - In Huba Bartos, Bánréti, M. Den Dikken & Váradi (eds.), Boundaries Crossed. Dordrecht: Springer.
Negation and Negative Concord in Romance.Ivan A. Sag & Henriëtte De Swart - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):373-417.
Negative Concord in French.Henrietta De Swart & Ivan Sag - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):373-417.
Negation And Negative Concord In Romance.Henriëtte De Swart & Ivan Sag - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):373-417.
Positive Polarity - Negative Polarity.Anna Szabolcsi - 2004 - Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 22 (2):409-452..
Compositionality and Complexity in Multiple Negation.Francis Corblin - 1995 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 3 (2-3):449-471.
Modal Concord: A Case Study of Dutch.J. Huitink - 2012 - Journal of Semantics 29 (3):403-437.