Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft
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The aim of the present paper is to study and account for the scopal interaction between modal verbs and sentential negation in historical Low German. A number of proposals concerning the scope of negation in clauses with modal verbs for other languages (mainly English) will be evaluated against the empirical findings from historical Low German. It will be argued that syntactic accounts of this interaction are not empirically adequate, and that a lexical account will have to be complemented by a pragmatic one in order to account for the behaviour and development of some modal verbs.