Matti Miestamo (University of Helsinki)
"How negatives differ from affirmatives in the world's languages"
This talk will look at negation from a broad typological perspective. My main focus will be on standard negation, i.e. the negation of declarative verbal main clauses. I will pay special attention to the structural differences that negatives can show vis-a-vis affrimatives. Negatives that differ from their affirmative counterparts only by the presence of negative markers are called symmetric negatives, and negatives that show other structural differences as well are classified as asymmetric negatives. Different types of structural asymmetry can be observed between negatives and affirmatives, e.g., reduction of the finiteness of the lexical verb, use of irrealis marking, neutralization of grammatical distinctions, and changes in case marking under negation. Possible functional motivations for the asymmetries will also be addressed.