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An Anaylsis of the Influence of Greeks Texts on Negative Concord in Old Church Slavic

Nakita Barakadyn

University of Georgia


This study seeks to investigate how negative concord works in conjunction with negation strategies of Old Church Slavic (OCS), comparing this process in biblical OCS with original Slavic compositions. This work expands on the preliminary investigation done by Klein (2011), which used early Indo-European language translation of the Biblical Gospels. The specific locus of this paper is over the nature of negative concord, defined as the use of an NCI (Negative Concord Item) in conjunction with a negative verb. Negative concord can be strict (always using a negative verb when an NCI is present) or non-strict (only using a negative verb if it precedes an NCI), and OCS shows evidence of both types (Dočekal, 2009; Willis, 2013). A popular opinion for this variation lies in register, with Willis (2013, supporting an earlier opinion by Vaillant 1948) stating that a lack of negative concord where an NCI precedes the verb is due to the influence of works translated from Greek. Were this the case, one would expect to see a clear distinction in the rate of negative concord, with full presence in original Slavic compositions, and significantly fewer in religious translations. Despite this, there are many examples in early Slavic languages of an NCI preceding a positive verb in a secular text. These examples demonstrate that the secular vs. religious distinction may not be sufficiently descriptive in justifying the discrepancy in the application of negative concord. This work survey’s the instances of NCIs preceding their verbs in the OCS Gospels- translations from Biblical Greek- and a selection of texts from native Slavic compositions. This test case will serve to discern whether the difference in rate of negative concord between texts translated into OCS and native OCS texts is significant.


Barakadyn, Nakita. 2023. An Anaylsis of the Influence of Greeks Texts on Negative Concord in Old Church Slavic. UGA Working Papers in Linguistics 6, 164-179. The Linguistics Society at UGA: Athens, GA.


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