Focus-sensitive negation in Latin

Chiara Gianollo


Classical Latin displays negative particles, like neque / nec and ne…quidem ‘neither, not even’, that can express sentential negation while at the same time narrowly focusing on some constituent of the clause. These particles are multifunctional elements that can express various types of focus (additive or scalar) and, in the case of neque / nec, also have a coordinative and a discourse-structuring function. In this work I investigate the complex interplay of semantic and syntactic factors that govern their distribution and interpretation. I single out the structural and meaning-related contextual conditions favoring the additive or the scalar interpretation, and I propose an analysis of the complex internal structure of the particles. I also discuss the diachronic implications of my analysis, in particular with respect to the role played by the Romance continuations of nec.


negation; focus; additive particles; scalar particles; correlative negation

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