This is the web page of NiCC (Negation in Clause Combining: Typological and usage-based perspectives), a project funded by the Academy of Finland in 2020–2024 and housed in the General Linguistics unit at the University of Helsinki.

A map of the world, with coloured dots representing different languages and their negation strategies. The image is map 114 from the World Atlas of Linguistic Structures.

Types of asymmetric standard negation in the world’s languages (WALS map 114)

There are approximately 7,000 languages in the world, and each of them has ways to express negation. Negation has received a lot of attention from linguists, but there are still topics that are poorly understood. In this project, we focus on one such topic: negation in clause combinations.

Many languages have a separate strategy for negating dependent clauses, for example, and some dependent clause types are in themselves negative. However, we still do not know much about these and related issues, especially from a cross-linguistic perspective. In our project, we study the relationship between negation and clause combining in individual languages, in specific areas (especially Europe and Northern Eurasia), and in a world-wide language sample. In addition to reference grammars, we study actual texts and field recordings. By doing this, we make the context of language use a part of cross-linguistic comparison and provide a more holistic perspective for understanding negation in language.