The negation of cualquier NP


  • Ana Clara Polakof Universidad de la República-Uruguay


Even though the interpretation of Free Choice Items such as any has been on debate for more than 50 years (Vendler, 1974, Dayal, 1998, Horn, 2000, etc.), it is relatively more recent in Spanish (Menéndez-Benito, 2005, Giannakidou and Quer, 2013, among others). Some have analyzed it as a universal quantifier, neither taking its free choiceness into account nor contexts which seem to be problematic for the universal account (see, for instance, Etxepare and Uribe-Etxebarria, 2011).

In this article, we defend that cualquier is a universal indeterminate pronoun which involves freedom of choice (as in the original proposal by Vendler, 1974). We will take into account data (taken from which has not been properly considered. We will analyze the interaction of negation and cualquier in Rioplantese Spanish in the subject position of negative generic statements, in the object position in negative episodic statements, and in a non argumental position. We will combine an alternative semantics approach to the analysis of the FCI cualquier, inspired in Menéndez-Benito (2010) and Aloni (2019), with a syntactic approach to negation inspired in Etxepare and Uribe-Etxebarria (2011).



free choice items, cualquier NP, negation, alternative semantics, Rioplatense Spanish


Aloni, Maria (2007a). “Free Choice and Exhaustification: An Account of Subtrigging

Effects”. In: Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung. Vol. 11, pp. 16–30.

Aloni, Maria (2007b). “Free Choice, Modals, and Imperatives”. In: Natural Language Semantics 15.1, pp. 65–94.

DOI: 10.1007/s11050-007-9010-2.

Aloni, Maria (2019). “Indefinites as Fossils: The Case of Wh-Based Free Choice.” In:

Aloni, Maria and Robert Van Rooij (2007). “Free Choice Items and Alternatives”. In:

Proceedings of the KNAW Academy Colloquium: Cognitive Foundations of Interpretation.

Edita KNAW Amsterdam, pp. 5–26.

Alonso-Ovalle, Luis and Paula Men´endez-Benito (2011). “Expressing indifference: Spanish

un NP cualquiera”. In: Semantics and Linguistic Theory. Vol. 21, pp. 333–352.

Arregui, Ana (2006). “Cualquier, Exception Phrases and Negation”. In: Amsterdam studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science Series 4 278, p. 1.

Beghelli, Filippo and Tim Stowell (1997). “Distributivity and Negation: The Syntax of

Each and Every”. In: Ways of Scope Taking. Ed. by Gennaro Chierchia et al. Vol. 65.

Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, pp. 71–107.

DOI: 10.1007/978- 94-011-5814-5_3.

Bosque, Ignacio (1980). Sobre La Negación. Cátedra Madrid.

Bustos, Eduardo (1986). Pragmática del español: negación, cuantificación y modo. spa.

Aula abierta 3. Literaturverz. S. [267] - 272. Madrid: Univ. Nacional de Educacion a


Carlson, Greg N. (1989). “On the Semantic Composition of English Generic Sentences”.

In: Properties, Types and Meaning. Ed. by Gennaro Chierchia et al. Vol. 39. Dordrecht:

Springer Netherlands, pp. 167–192.

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-2723-0_5.

Chierchia, Gennaro (1998). “Reference to Kinds across Language”. In: Natural language

semantics 6.4, pp. 339–405.

Chierchia, Gennaro (2013). “Free Choice Nominals and Free Choice Disjunction: The Identity Thesis”. In: Alternatives in Semantics. Ed. by Anamaria Falaus. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 50–87.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137317247_3.

Collins, Chris (2017). “The Distribution of Negated Quantifier Phrases in English”. In:

Ms., NYU.

Collins, Chris and Paul M. Postal (2014). Classical NEG Raising: An Essay on the Syntax

of Negation. Vol. 67. MIT press.

Corblin, Francis and Lucia Tovena (2003). “L’expression de La Négation Dans Les Langues

Romanes”. In: Les langues romanes: probl`emes de la phrase simple, pp. 281–343.

Dayal, Veneeta (1998). “Any as Inherently Modal”. en. In: Linguistics and Philosophy

5, pp. 433–476.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005494000753.

Corblin, Francis and Lucia Tovena (2004). “The Universal Force of Free Choice ”. en. In: Linguistic Variation Yearbook 4, pp. 5–40.

DOI: 10.1075/livy.4.02day.

Corblin, Francis and Lucia Tovena (2009). “Variation in English Free Choice Items”. In: Universals and variation: Proceedings of GLOW in Asia VII, pp. 237–256.

Espinal, Teresa (2000). “On the Semantic Status of N-Words in Catalan and Spanish”.

en. In: Lingua 110.8, pp. 557–580.

DOI: 10 . 1016 / S0024-3841(00)00002-4.

Etxepare, Ricardo and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria (2011). “Foco y negación de constituyentes”. In: 60 problemas de gram´atica: dedicados a Ignacio Bosque. Ed. by María Victoria Escandell Vidal, Manuel Leonetti, and Cristina Sánchez Lopez. Lingüística. Madrid:

Ed. Akal.

Etxepare, Ricardo and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria (2008). “On Negation and Focus in

Spanish and Basque”. In: Anuario del Seminario de Filolog´ıa Vasca” Julio de Urquijo”,

pp. 287–309.

Etxepare, Ricardo and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria (2018). “Context-Sensitive Aspects of Constituent Negation”. In: Language, Syntax, and the Natural Sciences. Ed. by Roger Martin and Ángel J. Gallego. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 77–98.

DOI: 10.1017/9781316591529.005.

Etxepare, Ricardo and Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria (2020). Two Strategies for Constituent Negation (with Data from Spanish Varieties). LSRL50!

Fox, Danny (2007). “Free Choice and the Theory of Scalar Implicatures”. en. In: Presupposition and Implicature in Compositional Semantics. Ed. by Uli Sauerland and Penka Stateva. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 71–120.

DOI: 10.1057/9780230210752_4.

Gamut, L. T. F. (2002). Introducción a La Lógica. Trans. by Cecilia Durán. Eudeba

Buenos Aires, Argentina. ISBN: 950-23-1224-4.

Giannakidou, Anastasia and Josep Quer (2013). “Exhaustive and Non-Exhaustive Variation

with Free Choice and Referential Vagueness: Evidence from Greek, Catalan, and

Spanish”. In: Lingua 126, pp. 120–149.

Grice, H. P. (1975). “Logic and Conversation”. In: Speech Acts. Ed. by Peter Cole and

Jerry L. Morgan. BRILL, pp. 41–58.

DOI: 10.1163/9789004368811_003.

Gutiérrez-Rexach, Javier (2014). Interfaces and Domains of Quantification. The Ohio

State University Press. ISBN: 0-8142-1255-7.

Hintikka, Jaakko (1980). “On the Any-Thesis and the Methodology of Linguistics”. en.

In: Linguistics and Philosophy 4.1, pp. 101–122.


Horn, Laurence R. (1985). “Metalinguistic Negation and Pragmatic Ambiguity”. In: Language 61.1, p. 121.

DOI: 10.2307/413423.

Horn, Laurence R. (2000). “Pick a Theory, Not Just Any Theory”. In: Negation and Polarity. Syntactic and Semantic Perspectives. Ed. by Laurence Horn and Yasuhiko Kato. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 147–192.

Horn, Laurence R. and Yasuhiko Kato, eds. (2000). Negation and Polarity: Syntactic and

Semantic Perspectives. Oxford Linguistics. Series statement taken from jacket. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Kadmon, Nirit and Fred Landman (1993). “Any”. en. In: Linguistics and Philosophy 16.4,

pp. 353–422. ISSN: 0165-0157, 1573-0549. DOI: 10.1007/BF00985272.

Kaplan, David (1989). “Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics

and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals”. In: Themes From Kaplan.

Ed. by Joseph Almog, John Perry, and Howard Wettstein. Oxford University Press,

pp. 481–563.

Kato, Yasuhiko (2000). “Interpretive Asymmetries of Negation”. In: Negation and Polarity.

Syntactic and Semantic Perspectives. Ed. by Laurence Horn and Yasuhiko Kato.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 62–87.

Kim, Jong-Bok and Ivan A. Sag (2002). “Negation without Head-Movement”. In: Natural

Language & Linguistic Theory 20.2, pp. 339–412.

Kratzer, Angelika (2005). “Indefinites and the Operators They Depend on: From Japanese

to Salish”. In: Reference and Quantification: The Partee Effect. Ed. by Greg Carlson

and Francis Pelletier. Vol. 173. CSLI Publications Stanford, CA, pp. 113–142.

Kratzer, Angelika and Junko Shimoyama (2002). “Indefinite Pronouns: The View from

Japanese”. In: Paper Delivered at the Third Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics.

Krifka, Manfred (1991). “Some Remarks on Polarity Items”. In: Semantic Universals and

Universal Semantics. De Gruyter Mouton. Chap. Semantic Universals and Universal

Semantics, pp. 150–189.

DOI: 10.1515/9783110870527-009.

Krifka, Manfred et al. (1995). “Genericity: An Introduction”. In: The Generic Book. Ed.

by Gregory N. Carlson and Francis Jeffry Pelletier. University of Chicago Press, pp. 1–

Laka, Miren Itziar (1990). “Negation in Syntax–on the Nature of Functional Categories

and Projections”. PhD thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lasnik, Howard (1972). “Analyses of Negation in English.” PhD thesis. Massachusetts

Institute of Technology.

LeGrand, Jean Ehrenkranz (1975). “Or and Any: The Semantics and Syntax of Two Logical

Operators (Ph. D. Dissertation)”. In: University of Chicago.

Löbner, Sebastian (2000). “Polarity in Natural Language: Predication, Quantification and

Negation in Particular and Characterizing Sentences”. In: Linguistics and Philosophy

3, pp. 213–308.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005571202592.

Lorenzo González, Guillermo (1999). “Negación Sin NegP”. In: Verba 26, pp. 193–223.

Matthewson, Lisa and Henry Davis (2019). “Quantification”. In: The Routledge Handbook

of North American Languages. Ed. by Daniel Siddiqi et al. Routledge Handbooks

in Linguistics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Menéndez-Benito, Paula (2005). The Grammar of Choice. University of Massachusetts

Amherst Amherst, MA.

Menéndez-Benito, Paula (2010). “On Universal Free Choice Items”. In: Natural Language Semantics 18.1, pp. 33–64.

Penka, Doris (2016). “Negation and Polarity”. In: The Routledge Handbook of Semantics.

Ed. by Nick Riemer. Routledge Handbooks in Linguistics. London ; New York:

Routledge, pp. 303–319.

RAE (2009). Nueva Gramática de La Lengua Española. Espasa Libros.

Rivero, Marıa Luisaz (2011). “Cualquiera Posnominal: Un Desconocido Cualquiera”. In:

Cuadernos de la Asociación de Lingüística y Filologıa de la América Latina 3, pp. 60–

San Segundo Cachero, Rosabel (2016). “Negación Metalingüística y Estructura Informativa:

Caracterización Sintáctico-Pragmática de” Non””. In: Lletres asturianes, 114.

Sánchez López, Cristina (1999a). “La Negación”. In: Gramática Descriptiva de La Lengua

Española. Ed. by Ignacio Bosque and Violeta Demonte. Vol. 1. Espasa Calpe Mexicana,

SA, pp. 2561–2634.

Sánchez López, Cristina (1999b). “Los Cuantificadores: Clases de Cuantificadores y Estructuras Cuantificativas”. In: Gram´atica Descriptiva de La Lengua Española. Ed. by Ignacio Bosque and Violeta Demonte. Vol. 1. Espasa Calpe Mexicana, SA, pp. 1025–1128.

Van Rooij, Robert (2008). “Towards a Uniform Analysis of Any”. en. In: Natural Language

Semantics 16.4, pp. 297–315.

DOI: 10.1007/s11050-008-9035-1.

Vendler, Zeno (1974). “Each and Every, Any and All.” In: Linguistics in Philosophy.

Cornell University Press.

Zanuttini, Raffaella (1997). Negation and Clausal Structure: A Comparative Study of Romance Languages. Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax. New York: Oxford University


Zeevat, HW (1994). “Applying an Exhaustivity Operator in Update Semantics, in: Ellipsis,

Tense and Questions (Hans Kamp”. In: Zeijlstra, Hedde (2004). Sentential Negation and Negative Concord. eng. LOT 101. Amsterdam Univ., Diss., 2004. Utrecht: LOT.




Download data is not yet available.