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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper argues that Romanian n-words are negative quantifiers and provides strong empirical support for this position. First, contrary to what is generally argued for strict negative concord languages, we show that the double negation reading is available in Romanian with two or several n-words. Furthermore, both diachronically and synchronically we find occurrences of n-words without sentential negation that yield semantic negation. Our hypothesis correctly predicts several similarities between n-words in Romanian and their counterparts in Germanic languages. In order to the account for these facts, I adopt de Swart and Sag's (2002) polyadic approach of n-words as negative quantifiers. I also argue that the traditional distinction between negative concord and double negation languages needs to be reconsidered.

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