Negation in C: The Syntax of Negated Verbs in Old Norse

ThóRhallur EythóRsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The syntax of finite verbs with the negation suffix -a/-at in early Old Norse reveals an asymmetry regarding the position of the verb relative to the subject in main clauses. The subject is regularly preceded by the negated verb, but followed by the verb in affirmative clauses. The asymmetry suggests that the subject is canonically in SpecIP. In affirmative subject-initial main clauses the finite verb moves to I, but the negated verbs obligatorily move to C. The movement of negated verbs to C is triggered by a [+neg] feature in this position. This assumption is independently motivated by the existence of the overt and non-overt negative complementizers in a variety of languages. The analysis advanced here supports the hypothesis that cross-linguistically sentential negation can be structurally represented in C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-224
Number of pages35
JournalNordic Journal of Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


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