Nonveridicality and Negative Polarity Variation

Journal Article
Abdulrahman, Almansour, . 2010
المجلة \ الصحيفة: 
Journal of King Saud University, Languages and Translation
رقم العدد: 
23
رقم الإصدار السنوي: 
2
الصفحات: 
187-199
مستخلص المنشور: 

This paper investigates the constraints that underlie the licensing of negative polarity items in Classical/Standard Arabic, aspiring to be the first study that provides a comprehensive account that defines the condition under which those items are licensed in that language. I demonstrate that negative polarity items are licensed only in non-veridical contexts in Classical/Standard Arabic. It is contended that downward entailment, Strawson-downward entailingness, polarity lattices, binding, or anti-upward entailingness do not predict the right distribution of negative polarity items in Classical/Standard Arabic. Furthermore, it is argued that the strength of negative expressions dictates a variation in the licensing of the negative polarity items under consideration. Specifically, it is shown that a weak (or broad) negative polarity item is sanctioned with questions, imperatives, adversative predicates, protasis of conditionals, modal verbs, the future, restrictor of every, the habitual, and volitional verbs, whereas strong (or strict) ones are only licensed by regular negation. That negative polarity items are licensed in veridical non-monotonic contexts in a language such as English, while they are not allowed in these contexts in Classical/Standard Arabic corroborates recent proposals that call for a variation approach to the licensing of negative polarity items cross-linguistically. The analysis entertained in this paper not only highlights the condition responsible for the sanctioning of negative polarity items in Classical/Standard Arabic, but also provides evidence for a hierarchy of negative expressions strength.