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Sentence polarity and word order in Basque

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JournalThe Linguistic Review
DatePublished - 26 Jan 2006
Issue number2
Volume21
Number of pages37
Pages (from-to)87-124
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper argues for a new understanding of polarity-sensitive word order alternations in Basque, within a theory of grammar that assumes antisymmetry (Kayne 1994) and only XP movement. Drawing on Cinque's (1999) universal hierarchy of functional heads it argues that the negative order - Neg-Aux-V - is derivationally prior. The affirmative V-aux order is produced by raising of the VP to a position called PolP, which also hosts the negative morpheme ez, in negative sentences, and the emphatic marker, ba, in emphatic affirmatives. An empirical advantage of this proposal over underlying mixed-head approaches to Basque (Laka 1990), Elordieta 2000) is its ability to explain scope taking between negation and evidential particles.

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