Every human language has some syntactic means of distinguishing a negative from a non-negative sentence; in other words, every speaker's syntactic competence provides a means to express sentential negation. This ability, however, may be expressed in different ways, as shown by the fact that individual languages employ different syntactic strategies for the expression of the same semantic function of negating a sentence. Zanuttini's goal here is to characterize the range of such variation by comparing the different syntactic means for expressing sentential negation exhibited by the members of one language family--the Romance languages--and by reducing the differences we witness to a constrained set of choices available to the particular grammars of these languages. This sort of analysis is a first step towards the ultimate goal of determining and understanding what limits there are on the syntactic options that universal grammar imposes on the expression of sentential negation.
- Publication Date:
- 19 / 06 / 1997