Ioanna Sitaridou Colloquium

October 29
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Rosenwald 015
University of Cambridge
Romeyka negators: ‘Nothing makes sense except in the light of diachrony’

Greek belongs to the majority of the world’s languages that manifest a binary negator system which is regulated by (Non)veridicality (Giannakidou 2006: 589, et seq.). This distinction holds, to our knowledge, in all diachronic and dialectal forms of Greek (Horrocks 2010, Chatzopoulou and Giannakidou 2011, Chatzopoulou 2012). Yet the complexity through which the relation between negation and nonveridical functions is grammaticalized is unique in Romeyka (Chatzopoulou & Sitaridou 2014), a cluster of Greek varieties still spoken in North-East Turkey (Sitaridou 2013, 2014a/b, i.a.), as in these varieties there are six distinct types of sentential negation, where we see both specialization in terms of a particular nonveridical environment (prohibition, possibility conditional, optative) but also interaction with biclausality. More intriguingly however, the morphological makeup of these novel negators suggests that they derive from the negator proper to veridical contexts. We set out to explain these ‘spandrels’, which seem to disrupt the otherwise stable semantically conditioned dichotomy of NEG1 and NEG2 in the history of Greek.