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By Roderick Hunt, Alex Brychta

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Jack 1978c; Iyeiri 2001; Frisch 1997). Generally speaking, not is found freely combined with the conjunction ne in Early Middle English (Jack 1978c: 66). These two forms were used interchangeably in Early Middle English texts and, as Jack (1978c) suggested, it seems that in general not and ne…not were “simple alternatives”, and that the choice between them was not syntactically governed (Jack 1978c: 61). However, neither of these features of earlier usage survived in later ME, when not became an adverb of negation, and it was no longer obligatory to include ne in a negative clause already marked by some other n-items (Jack 1978c: 58).

Burnley 1983: 66; Elliott 1974: 401; Miyabe 1968: 92). Cheshire (1982) states that in Non-standard English (henceforth NSE) sentences that make use of more than a single negative element would have the same meaning, “although in those dialects where negative concord is a variable feature its use may give additional emphasis to the negation of the second sentence” (Cheshire 1982: 63). e. the use of ne…not negation and ne together with n-words, as opposed to the other two types of NC found in later stages of the Middle English and Early Modern English periods and which involve the use of the negative marker not accompanied by a n-word, or the co-occurrence of two or more n-words.

These different claims can only add to the uncertainty about when, in more accurate terms, NC declined and ultimately disappeared. Iyeiri (2001) states that “the culmination of the phenomenon is identifiable somewhere between the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries” (Iyeiri 2001: 130), but that multiple negation undergoes a significant recession both in THE LINGUISTIC THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 35 prose and verse, after the time of Shakespeare and becomes non-standard during the seventeenth century.

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