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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.

CUP AT LINGUIST

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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