De Clercq and Vanden Wyngaerd address a long-standing puzzle in gradable adjectives, which is that positive adjectives may be prefixed with un-, but negative ones cannot, although negation of positive and negative adjectives alike is possible with not. They present a nanosyntactic account of this restriction that assumes the presence of a [Neg] feature in negative adjectives. They further show that restrictions on stacking multiple negative markers are sensitive to the scope of these markers, such that they cannot be stacked if they take scope in the same position, but can be stacked if they are separated by intervening levels of structure. They account for this by formulating a restriction against the occurrence of two immediately consecutive [Neg] features in the functional sequence.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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