Negative Polarity, Spec-Head Relations and the NEG-Criterion in Hindi

Shravan Vasishth (大阪大大学院)

I offer a syntactic analysis of Hindi and English negation, using Rizzi's AFFECT- and WH-criteria, and Haegeman's (1995) NEG-criterion, all based on Spec-head relations, to account for the subject-object asymmetry in Hindi and English, where only Hindi allows NPIs as subjects, and the lack of such an asymmetry in Hindi and English in interrogative sentences, where both languages allow subject and object NPIs in interrogative sentences.

NPI licensing in Hindi and English is shown to be controlled by S-structure constraints; this furnishes new evidence for Haegeman's claim that NPI licensing occurs universally at S-structure and obeys the NEG-criterion.

Moreover, this research shows that a single prindple, the AFFECT-criterion, is a powerful explanatory mechanism for a diverse set of phenomena related to negative polarity.


HAEGEMAN, LILIANE. 1995. The syntax of negation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MAHAJAN, ANOOP KUMAR. 1990. LF conditions on negative polarity licensing. Lingua, 80. 333-348.