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On niente: optional negative concord in Old Italian

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In this article we investigate the negative concord pattern of Old Italian, which, although it displays a negative marker very similar to the one of Modern Italian, has the bizarre property of inducing optional negative concord. We will concentrate on the bare n-word niente/neente/neiente 'nothing' and show that in the case of this element negative concord is actually not optional but depends on the position of the n-word: when it is inside the low IP space, it triggers obligatory negative concord, when it is in the VP internal argumental position it does not. Old Italian is thus different from Modern Italian as it ties negative concord to a specific position that the n-word must occupy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2012

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