Syntax of negation in Russian
Different languages express negations in different ways. In this paper we will try to see how negation system of the Russian language can be interpreted within the boundaries of syntax.
In modern Russian language negation is primarily expressed by the negative marker ne, which normally precedes the verb. However there are some exceptions when an adverb can be inserted between ne and a verb:
Mi ne vsegda hodim v trenazherniy zal.
We NEG always go to gym.
We do not always go to the gym.
The Russian language has two types of clausal negations – morphologically negative constituents, or NI-words, which are licensed in and only in the scope of overt clause mate negation; and the language-specific Genitive of Negation, the optional case-marking of the internal argument of a negated verb. (Brown 1999:1). In this paper we’d like to focus our attention on clausal negation.
Negative Concord means that two or more negative elements in a clause are interpreted only as one instance of negation and do not give rise to double negative interpretations.
Negative Concord (NC) phenomena in natural language NC is defined … as ‘two or more negative elements yielding one semantic negation’, following Labov’s (1972) observation. NC has been a widely studied phenomenon, since it exhibits morphosyntactic behaviour that should intuitively be ruled out by semantics. (Tsurska: 2010)
Russian NI-words are formed by adding the negative prefix –ni to a WH-element:
Kto – nikto Kak – nikak
Chto – nichto Kogda – nikodga
Gde – nigge ...
... middle of paper ...
... in Russian occur in negative sentences with the emphatic function:
Ni kapli/ni kapel’ki/ni kapelushechki – not a drop
Ni chut’/ni chutochki – not a little bit
Ni gramma/ni grammulechki – not a gram
Ni skolko/ni skolechki - nothing
Ni razu – not once
The following structure shows how minimizers function in a sentence:
(10) Ya ne s’ela ni gramma.
I NEG V minimizer
I didn’t at a thing.
However, a construction like minimizer+NE+V is also grammatically possible.
(11) Ya ni gramma ne s’ela.
I minimizer NEG V
I didn’t eat a thing.
Brown, S. (1999) The syntax of negation in Russian: A Minimalist approach. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Tsurska, O. (2010). Clausal architecture and sentential negation in Slavic.
Zeijstra. H. (2008). Negative Concord in Syntactic Agreement. Retrieved from http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/000645
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