French Negative Concord and Discord: An Experimental Investigation of Contextual and Prosodic Disambiguation Viviane D´eprez, Jeremy Yeaton 1 April 2016 *A version of this paper appeared in Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 14 with minor edits. Abstract Recent evidence that DN readings can arise in solid NC languages far more than previously thought (Dprez & al. 2015, D´eprez et al 2013, D´eprez 2014) underscore the theoretical importance of investigating the factors that govern the emergence of these interpretations to deepen our understanding of the cross-linguistic nature of Negative Concord constructions. Although context and prosody are oft cited influencing factors, no study has yet focused on investigating their effects on the interpretation of French NC constructions. To address this current gap, this paper investigates the roles of context and prosody in the disambiguation of simple French transitive sentences with two NCIs like personne and rien experimentally. French speakers were recorded reading transitive sentences containing NCIs, in subject and object positions, embedded in disambiguating NC or DN eliciting contexts. Target sentences were followed with a verification statement judged as T/F whose responses were statistically analyzed as matching or not. Target sentences with context-matching interpretations were extracted using Praat and analyzed using ProsodyPro (Xu, 2013). Sentence contour, average pitch and F0 peak value on NCIs were obtained and compared across conditions. Our results provide solid evidence that in French, NC and DN interpretations are prosodically distinguished, with a higher pitch accent on the object NCI in DN for a majority of speakers. This is argued to support a prosodic/structural distinction in NCI, with prosodically prominent NCI analyzed as Negative Quantifiers, and a polyadic resumptive analysis of the interpretation of NC sequences (De Swart et al. 2002, De Swart 2010, D´eprez 1997, 2000, 2011).