Quirky n-words in Polish: NPIs, Negative Qantifiers or neither?


  • Patrycja Jablonska University of Tromsø




Negative Polarity Items, Negative Quantifiers, Event Composition, Theta-identification, Adverbials, Secondary Predicates, l-syntax


The present paper investigates the contexts in which the so-called n-words - the items which are taken to be Negative Polarity Items in Slavic languages - unexpectedly occur without a licensing negation marker on the verb. This particular usage of n-words seems to point towards an ambiguous behaviour of the items in question: in an antimorphic contexts they are NPIs; otherwise they are negative quantifiers with negation having narrow scope w.r.t. the event variable. The paper tries to answer the question why the latter use is restricted to certain adverbials. I argue that the availability of 'logophoric' n-words turns on the issue of what the adverbial PP is predicated of. This intuition is formalized using Higginbothamistic view on l-(exical) syntax, where the nature of $\Theta$-identification of the adverbial with the verb is of fundamental importance. The semantic requirement, however, turns out to be insufficient. Hence the syntactic position of the PP on the hierarchy of thematic roles also has to be taken into consideration. The data analysed include adverbials of manner, reason, time, place, direction, resultatives and depictives.