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Academic Paper


Title: Never Again: The Multiple Grammaticalization of Never as a Marker of Negation in English
Author: Christopher Lucas
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff65469.php
Institution: University of London
Author: David W. E. Willis
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/dtal/staff/dwew2
Institution: University of Cambridge
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Pragmatics
Subject Language: English
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, 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.

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This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 16, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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