Onset and (De)Grammaticalization of Genitive of Negation in Germanic: A Historical and Typological Analysis

01 November 2020 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Diachronic linguistics
    • Historical linguistics
    • Linguistic typology
    • Syntax
Syntactic Reconstruction Genitive of Negation Germanic Differential Argument Marking
Project description

The proposed project aims to determine the origins and diachronic development of “genitive of negation” (GenNeg) in Germanic, and to evaluate its relationship with GenNeg as found in Balto-Slavic and Balto-Finnic languages from a historical, and typological viewpoint. GenNeg is a morphosyntactic phenomenon whereby the argument (subject/direct object) of a verb is assigned the genitive/partitive case under negation. This phenomenon is particularly widespread in the Balto-Slavic group and in Balto-Finnic languages.Several historical Germanic languages present cases of GenNeg as well. These cases, however, have received little to no attention in linguistic research to date. Nevertheless, in Bucci (2019) I have shown that GenNeg was indeed an available feature in Gothic, and that it shows similar semantic conditioning as GenNeg in languages such as Russian. Having these earlier results as its starting point,the current project aims to go further in reconstructing how GenNeg became a grammatical rule in Germanic. Furthermore, the project will investigate the typological affiliations of early Germanic GenNeg. To do this, I will collect the missing data from ancient Germanic languages and compare them to the other known examples of GenNeg from a European perspective. This project will also answer theoretical questions regarding the encoding of GenNeg at the intersection of Construction Grammar and Generative Grammar.