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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Reconsidering the syntax of non-canonical negative inversion
Author: Jessica White-Sustaita
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Two main hypotheses have been proposed to account for the word order of negative inversion (NI) in varieties of non-canonical English (e.g. Don't nobody else care). An auxiliary inversion analysis argues that the word order is derived via movement of the auxiliary to the left periphery, whereas an existential analysis argues that the word order is an artifact of deletion of the expletive subject, paralleling there-insertion existential constructions. After reviewing these hypotheses, I provide empirical evidence that neither of these theories adequately explains the peculiarities of NI. I advance a third hypothesis, namely that NI is the result of negative movement to the specifier of NegP, and that this movement is pragmatically motivated by an existential meaning in NI constructions. Syntactically, NI is made possible through the Neg-Criterion (Haegeman & Zanuttini 1991, 1996). This analysis explains problems encountered by prior analyses, and offers a unified analysis for variation in NI across dialects. Finally, I explain cross-dialectal differences in NI by considering the relationship between subject requirements and agreement.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 3.

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