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Never again: the multiple grammaticalization of never as a marker of negation in English

Lucas, Christopher and Willis, David (2012) 'Never again: the multiple grammaticalization of never as a marker of negation in English.' English Language and Linguistics, 16 (3). pp. 459-485.

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Abstract

In both standard and nonstandard varieties of English there are several contexts in which the word never functions as a sentential negator rather than as a negative temporal adverb. This article investigates the pragmatic and distributional differences between the various non-temporal uses of never and examines their synchronic and historical relationship to the ordinary temporal quantifier use, drawing on corpora of Early Modern and present-day British English. Primary focus is on (i) a straightforward negator use that in prescriptively approved varieties of English has an aspectual restriction to non-chance, completive achievement predicates in the preterite, but no such restriction in nonstandard English; and (ii) a distinct categorical-denial use that quantifies over possible perspectives on a situation. Against Cheshire (1998), it is argued that neither of these uses represents continuity with non-temporal uses of never in Middle English, but both are instead relatively recent innovations resulting from semantic reanalysis and the semanticization of implicatures.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1017/S1360674312000196
Depositing User: Chris Lucas
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2012 08:59
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/14523

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