An alternative proposal for French negation


Abstract


In this paper, I propose an analysis of the negative expression (ne) pas 'not' in Modern Standard French, set within the minimalist program of Chomsky (1995), whose goal is to keep only principles no theory can do without (Hornstein 1994: 62ff.; see also Abraham et al. 1996; Pollock
1997; etc. for introductions to the theory). The main characteristic of the present account is that it takes seriously the well-known fact that ne, traditionally thought of as the center of sentential negation, is no longer negative (Ashby 1981; Coveney 1996). Therefore, Pollock's (1989)
influential proposal of a specific negative functional category NEGP headed by ne with pas in its SPEC has to be revised. I will focus only on French, and leave for further research how my proposal could be extended to account for the structure of negation in other languages, especially in other Romance languages (see Zanuttini 1991).

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