The interpretation of NPIs: Some experimental results

Janina Rado

In a series of experiments we tested the collocational theory of Negative Polarity Item (NPI) licensing (Sailer and Richter 2002, Richter and Soehn 2006). While typical experiments use one or two NPIs and the same number of licensers, we have identified about 50 German NPIs and more than a dozen licensers. Our results provide evidence for distinguishing strong and weak NPIs. We will discuss various constructions where NPIs occur with inappropriate licensers, and the kinds of graded grammaticality effects found in those constructions.


Manfred Sailer and Frank Richter (2002). Not for Love or Money: Collocations! In: Gerhard Jäger, Paola Monachesi, Gerald Penn and Shuly Wintner (eds.), Proceedings of Formal Grammar 2002. pp. 149--160. Frank Richter and Jan-Philipp Soehn (2006). `Braucht niemanden zu scheren': A Survey of NPI Licensing in German. In: Stefan Müller (ed.), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar. pp. 421--440. Published by CSLI Publications.