Questions, Answers, Polarity and Head Movement in Germanic and Finnish


  • Anders Holmberg University of Durham



Negation, Question, Answer, Ellipsis, Do-support, T-to-C


The paper investigates the consequences of combining the following two assumptions: (a) The English negation n’t is an inflection, and (b) suffixed forms are derived in the syntax by head movement with left-adjunction. An immediate consequence is that Neg must c-command T. This entails that inversion in negative yes/no-questions (YNQs) is not T-to-C but Neg-to-C, or, if Neg is Pol(arity) with negative value, Pol-to-C. This in turn makes possible viewing inversion in YNQs as a special case of wh-movement. It also makes possible analyzing inversion in Germanic as essentially the same as in Finnish, where the negation overtly undergoes movement in negative YNQs. It also provides the basis for a theory of the syntax of replies toYNQs, including negative questions.