Jäger’s paper surveyed developments in the history of German related to the negation cycle of Jespersen, beginning with the expression of sentential negation. She then moved on to indefinites in the scope of negation, showing that the los of NC in German is very closely linked empirically to the loss of the head negator.
As regards the distribution of the various indefinite types in different stages of German, she discussed an ‘Elsewhere’ condition, proposed by Blevins (2000) among others, requiring the use of the most highly specified item in a context specified for that feature. N-indefinites are [+ affect. + neg.] so would exclude [+affect.] items in neg. contexts. However, OHG poses a clear problem for this analysis as a [+ affect.] indefinite, not a [+affect. + neg.] indefinite, was required as the second of two indefinites in a negative clause: OHG did not have negative spread. She suggested an Optimality Theory approach to the issue, with different rankings for the Elsewhere condition in differing languages and contexts. Finally, she pointed to a discontinuity between earlier and later NC in that mod. German dialects with NC have neg. spread.
Eric Haeberli, as the discussant, raised questions about the analysis presented. If OHG ni heads NegP, what is the nature of the negative feature on Neg? Assuming from the talk that it is [uNeg, its status as a head in the clause structure could be challenged, as in Ian Roberts' seminar 1. The claim that N-indefinites are never inherently negative needs to address well-known problems discussed in Deprez's seminar 3.
Finally, Haeberli suggested that a comparison with Old English, like OHG a West Germanic language, reveals interesting differences as regards the Neg spread which it would be interesting to address.