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Can standard negation be marked clause-finally?

Summary

This feature refers to standard negation, or the construction(s) that mark negation of (at least) dynamic (i.e. non-stative) verbal predicates in declarative mood. It is possible that the same negation construction will be used for other purposes as well (e.g. with stative or non-verbal predicates), but clauses involving predicates other than the aforementioned dynamic verbal predicates in declarative mood should be disregarded.

The position ‘clause-final’ includes suffixes on verbs in verb-final clauses, even if they are not the very last suffix on the verb. Prefixes on clause-final verbs do not count as clause-final negation. If a negator consists of two obligatory elements and only one is clause-final, this is sufficient to count as clause-final marking and trigger a 1 for this feature. As with other word order features in this dataset, we are concerned with the order of the negative marker when the clause has its canonical intransitive or transitive word order. We are not interested in cases of argument omission or pragmatically marked constructions (e.g. focus); these should be disregarded in coding this feature.

Procedure

  1. Find the section in the available descriptive literature that deals with negation.
  2. Consider all the described standard negation constructions (i.e. those that negate dynamic verbal predicates in declarative mood).
  3. If a negative marker is clause-final in any construction identified in step 2, code 1 for this feature.
  4. If there are multiple markers of standard negation and one occurs clause-finally, code 1 for this feature (GB137) (and if the other marker is clause-initial code 1 for GB138 Can standard negation be marked clause-initially?).
  5. If there is no clause-final marker of clausal negation, code 0.
  6. If clause-final markers of clausal negation only occur in pragmatically marked constructions, or with non-verbal or stative predicates, or in non-declarative clauses, code 0.
  7. If a marker of standard negation only occurs clause-finally as a result of argument omission (and occurs in a non-final position when independent nominal or pronominal arguments are included), code 0.

Examples

Adang (ISO 639-3: nld, Glottolog: adan1251)

Standard negation in Adang is marked with a negative particle ʔɛ and a negative adverb nɛnɛ. The latter occurs clause-finally.

supi  ʔɛ  na            ʔa-dɛ      nɛnɛ
3PL   NEG thing(=food)  3.OBV-eat  NEG
‘They did not eat food.’ (Haan 2001: 216)

John ʔɛ   sam  don       nɛnɛ
John NEG  go   shopping  NEG
‘John did not go shopping.’ (Haan 2001: 216)

Because one of the markers involved in standard negation occurs clause-finally Adang is coded 1.

Dutch (ISO 639-3: nld, Glottolog: dutc1256)

The marker of standard negation in Dutch, niet can (but does not always) appear at the end of the clause. This situation triggers a 1 for this feature.

hij    kent  Anneke  helemaal niet
3SG.M  know  Anneke  at.all   NEG
‘He doesn't know Anneke at all.’ (Shetter 1984: 146)

Arop-Sissano (ISO 639-3: aps, Glottolog: arop1242) The Arop-Sissano negator elin/lin occurs before the verb in standard clausal negation:

yi   lin  tak-lon   tama-n     aij
3SG  NEG  HAB-hear  father-3SG talk
‘He does not listen to his father's talk.’ (Whitacre 1986: 69)

Paul  ro    Linus  elin tor-o   k-am-taw      moyl  olon   olonma  ene
Paul  both  Linus  NEG  HAB-do  PST-MOD-well  work  house  inside  here
‘Both Paul and Linus cannot work well inside this house here.’ (Whitacre 1986: 69)

The negator can be repeated in clause-final position, as shown below, but a clause-final negator creates an emphatic (i.e. pragmatically marked) meaning (Whitacre 1986: 69).

yi  lin  k-o     save  pene   o      taako  aw-o    yi,  elin!
3SG NEG  PST-do  know  RANGE  thing  a      FUT-do  3SG  NEG
‘He did not think that anything would happen to him, definitely not!’ (Whitacre 1986: 69)

The negator can also occur clause-finally in Arop-Sissano when negating non-verbal clauses (Whitacre 1986: 69):

po        ene  amon  elin
betelnut  DEI  good  NEG
‘This betelnut is not good.’ (Whitacre 1986: 69)

Arop-Sissano is coded 0, as the only constructions that meet the criteria for standard negation (i.e. dynamic verbal predicate and not pragmatically marked) do not place the negator in a clause-final position.

English (ISO 639-3: eng, Glottolog: stan1293)

Standard negation in English is expressed with the negator not, which occurs before the lexical verb (as in, John did not run, or Ann did not hug John.), meaning its position is not clause-final. There is a contracted form of this negator that can occur clause-finally (as in John didn't.). However, this suffix form of the negator occurs on auxiliary verbs and cannot occur clause-finally with a dynamic lexical verb (e.g. * John eatn't.) so this affixal negation construction fails to meet the criteria for standard negation. English is coded 0.

Further reading

Croft, William. 1991. The evolution of negation. Journal of Linguistics 27(1). 1–27.

Dahl, Östen. 1979. Typology of sentence negation. Linguistics 17. 79–106.

Dahl, Östen. 2010. Typology of negation. In Laurence R. Horn (ed.), The expression of negation, 9–38. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Negative morphemes. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Position of negative morpheme with respect to subject, object, and verb. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Order of negative morpheme and verb. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Miestamo, Matti. 2013. Symmetric and asymmetric standard negation. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

Payne, John R. 1985. Negation. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description, vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

References

Haan, Johnson Welem. 2001. The grammar of Adang: A Papuan language spoken on the Island of Alor East Nusa Tenggara-Indonesia. Sydney: University of Sydney. (Doctoral dissertation.)

Shetter, William Z. 1994. Dutch: An essential grammar. London: Routledge.

Whitacre, Steve. 1986. Arop/Sissano grammar essentials. Ms.

Related Features

Patron

Hannah J. Haynie