We are happy to announce a talk by  Imke Driemel (HU Berlin) in the Syntax Colloquium.

The talk will take place in person and on Zoom. Room IG 0.454

Date: May 12 (Friday not Monday!)

Time: 2 pm – 4 pm ct

Title: Negative Concord without Agree: Insights from German, Dutch, and English child language


Children acquiring a non-negative concord language like Standard German and English consistently interpret sentences with negative concord as conveying a single semantic negation (Thornton et al. 2016, Nicolae and Yatsushiro 2020). Corpus-based investigations (Miller 2012, Thornton and Tesan 2013, Thornton et al. 2016, Nicolae and Yatsushiro 2020, Hein et al. 2023) for English, German, and Dutch show that children also produce sentences with two negative elements but only a single negation meaning. We review syntactic Agree-based analyses (Zeijlstra 2004, Zeijlstra 2011, Penka 2007, Penka 2011) and discuss the challenges they face in accounting for the typological variation and the child data. As a consequence, we develop a novel analysis of negative concord and negative indefinites which relies on purely morphological operations applying to hierarchical semantic representations within a version of the Meaning First architecture of grammar (Guasti et al. 2022, Sauerland and Alexiadou 2020). We will argue that the typological variation between NC, non-NC, and optional NC languages as well as the children’s non adult-like behaviour fall out from our account in a straightforward fashion, while the downsides of the Agree-based accounts are avoided.