The goal of the present work is to discuss the properties of negative yes-no questions capitalising on data from Bulgarian. Negative yes-no questions have traditionally been considered a case of expletive or pleonastic negation, i.e. the negation marker is void of negative content and does not contribute to the negative interpretation of the structure. In view of this property, given languages, like Bulgarian and other Slavic and Balkan languages, display an intriguing blocking of Negative Concord in yes-no questions (Dimitrova 2020a) which prevents the co-occurrence of the negation marker and n-words (Laka 1990). Rather, the negation marker is only compatible with positive indefinites underlying the speaker’s bias towards the positive value of the proposition (Ladd 1981). Considering the data from Bulgarian and building on some intriguing patterns between negative yes-no questions and given types of subjunctive main and embedded clauses (Giannakidou 2016; Dimitrova 2020b), we propose that the negation marker is not expletive but rather contributes to the expression of the speaker’s evaluations and kind of attitude, displaying a relation to the domain of nonveridicality (Giannakidou 1998; Yoon 2011).
2. On the syntax of negative yes-no questions and the expression of positive bias
3. Bulgarian negative yes-no questions
4. Expletive negation: evaluation and nonveridicality
5. Towards an analysis of negative yes-no questions and expletive negation
6. Conclusion remarks