On the (non-)expletive uses of the preverbal negative ne/en in the history of (Low) German and Dutch

  • Elisabeth Witzenhausen Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum
Keywords: Paratactic Negation, West Germanic, Conditional clauses, Exceptive clauses, Adversative clauses


This article presents novel data from Middle High German, Middle Low German and Middle Dutch showing that two phenomena which often have been treated as one, namely the single former negative
marker ne/en appearing in adverbial and complement clauses, have to be treated as distinct phenomena. I argue that only in complement clauses, ne/en is a paratactic negation marker, while in adverbial clauses
it functions as an exceptive and adversative discourse marker. In these contexts, I refer to ne/en as post-cyclical Furthermore, I propose a scenario as to how the reanalysis from negation to exceptive marker