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Department of Linguistics, University of Antwerp
Englishes, English Creoles and their Negative Indefinites

The talk reports on a typological study of negative indefinites, i.e., the counterparts to standard English nobody and nothing, in Englishes, primarily the New Englishes, and in English Creoles. Particular attention goes to "Negative Concord" ("NC"), i.e., the exponence of negation through both a negative indefinite and a verbal negator. The study confirms that NC is widespread in both Englishes and English Creoles and claims that although this holds for both Englishes and English Creoles, they have to be considered separately and that there is a lot of variation with respect to NC subtypes.  Important, but mostly for the New Englishes, is whether or not the British English input allowed NC. For Creoles special attention goes to the fact that they have typically created a new verbal negator (no).


Johan van der Auwera is professor of General and English Linguistics at the University of Antwerp. His student and postdoc days were spent in Antwerp, Berkeley, Stockholm, Hannover and Nijmegen. Visiting and honorary appointments took him to Bangkok, Gothenburg, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Leuven, Madrid, Paris, Princeton, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. He was elected as the President of the Societas Linguistica Europaea in 2004 and as member of the Academia Europaea in 2015. His research focuses on grammatical semantics with special reference to conditionals, mood, modality, negation, indefinites, impersonals, and similatives, from a synchronic and diachronic as well as an areal perspective, and occasionally from a historiographical point of view. Languages studied are English, including New Englishes and Creoles, Germanic languages, European languages and samples of the totality of the world's languages. He is the editor-in-chief of Linguistics.