1.2.1 The Lexicon
It is obvious that this knowledge is not predictable from anything. There is no reason why the object that we call a cat should be called a cat, as witnessed by the fact that other languages do not use this word to refer to the same object (e.g. macska (Hungarian), chat (French), Katze (German), gato (Spanish), quatus (Maltese) kot (Russian), kissa (Finnish), neko (Japanese), mao (Chinese), paka (Swahili)). Moreover, there is nothing about the pronunciation [k?t] that means that it must refer to this object: one can imagine a language in which the word pronounced [k?t] is used for almost anything else. This kind of linguistic knowledge is not ‘rule governed’, but is just arbitrary facts about particular languages.
Note that the inability of the negative to support the inflections is a language specific property and there are languages where this is exactly what happens. For example, Finnish negation shows the same agreement morphemes as its verbs do and in the presence of negation the verb does not inflect for agreement:
Because of its behaviour, the Finnish negative element is often called the negative auxiliary or even a negative verb. Moreover, in other languages the negative element surfaces as a bound morpheme on the verb, a situation very similar to the analysis we have given the aspectual markers in English. This is exemplified by the following Choctaw and Japanese sentences:
7.5.3 Negative fronting
The difference however, between the fronted focus and the fronted negative is that the latter induces inversion to ‘i’, while the former does not. Referring back to the difference between wh-movement that triggers inversion and wh-movement that does not, we proposed that inversion is triggered when there is no head to agree with. In embedded interrogatives the complementiser position could be filled and hence there will be no inversion. If we project these ideas on to the current situation, we conclude that with focus the i head is filled by some abstract element but with negative fronting the head position is unfilled. We know that the negative head is a verbal element of the category ‘v’ and so it cannot be generated directly in i. The only way for the negative head to get to i is for it to move and yet we know that the negative is not able to move to I to support the inflection in English, as it is in Finnish. Thus, there is no way for the negative head to get to i and hence when a negative element moves to the specifier of iP it will induce inversion to provide a head for it.