On the status of NCIs: An experimental investigation on so-called Strict NC languages

Maria Teresa Espinal Farre, Eloi Puig-Mayenco, Urtzi Etxeberria, Susagna Tubau

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper investigates the status of Negative Concord Items (NCIs) in three so-called Strict Negative Concord (NC) languages (namely, Greek, Romanian, and Russian). An experimental study was designed to gather evidence concerning the speakers’ acceptability and interpretation of sequences with argumental NCIs in subject, object, and both positions when dhen/nu/ne were not present. Our results show that NCIs are negative indefinites whose presence in a clausal domain is enough to assign a single negation reading to the whole sequence, thus arguing in support of the hypothesis that in NC structures the minimal semantic requirement to convey single negation is that one or more NCIs encoding a negative feature appear within a sentential domain. We argue that in these structures dhen/nu/ne are the instantiations of a negative feature [neg] disembodied from an indefinite negative NCI in order to obey a syntax–phonology interface constraint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-41
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2023


  • (un)acceptability
  • Greek
  • Negative Concord Items
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Strict Negative Concord languages
  • interpretation


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