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Marking Presuppositional Negation in the Dialects of Southern Italy

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Marking Presuppositional Negation in the Dialects of Southern Italy
Marking Presuppositional Negation in the Dialects of Southern Italy
Adam Ledgeway ([email protected])
University of Cambridge
In contrast to the dialects of northern Italy which, given their rich variety of
grammaticalized minimizers (e.g. MICAM ‘crumb’ > mi(n)ga, REM ‘thing’ > ren,
PASSUM ‘step’ > pa, NEC GUTTAM ‘not (even) a drop’ > ne(g)ota, etc.), have been the
subject of a considerable number of semantic and syntactic studies (cf., among others,
Schwegler 1990:151-74; Vai 1996; Parry 1997a,b; 1998; 2013; Zanuttini 1997;
Manzini and Savoia 1998; 2002; 2005, III; 2011; Patruno and Sgarioto 2004; Penello
2005; Penello and Pescarini 2008; Pescarini 2005; Poletto 2008; 2010), negation in
the dialects of southern Italy has received very little attention (see, however, Damonte
2008; Poletto 2009; Egerland 2010; Garzonio and Poletto 2010b) since they appear to
present very little lexical and morphosyntactic variation in this area.
In this paper, by contrast, I shall show that the linguistic expression of emphatic
negation displays considerable variation in the dialects of southern Italy, including the
syntactic marking of presuppositional negation through verb movement in some
dialects (cf. Ledgeway and Lombardi 2005) and through the grammaticalizaton of an
original lexical minimizer filu ‘thread’ in others (cf. Garzonio and Poletto 2010a).
Among other things, the southern Italian evidence will be shown to support the idea
that within the area of emphatic negation the binary opposition between
presuppositional negators (‘after all…not’) and negative completive/intensive
negators (‘not at all/even’) is more fluid than traditionally assumed, and, following
proposals in Garzonio (2008a,b) regarding the Florentine adverb punto ‘not at all’,
that these two values can in some southern dialects correspond to two distinct
positions within the lower portion of the functional clause structure. Significantly, I
will also demonstrate that in certain cases both of these positions can be
simultaneously lexicalized through distinct functional items or be derivationally
related through movement from one position to the other.
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