Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

double negation (was: Re: Sad translation)

From:JOEL MATTHEW PEARSON <mpearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 21, 1999, 0:06
On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Boudewijn Rempt wrote:

> > Turantos do! > > nobody love.EXP 1sMGH > > Nobody has ever loved me! > > Aya! A real mistake in Denden (and those are hard to > make...) I'd better say: > > turantos do! > nobody 1sMGH > > The first version simply doesn't make sense to a Charyan: > how can 'nobody' actually do something positive, like loving. > Where there's no-one to do something, nothing gets done, so > the verb must be negated.
Hmm, I'm not sure I buy this explanation. Maybe the "tau-" prefix is really some sort of irrealis (or 'negative mood') marker, rather than a true polarity marker. That's how I understand double negation in Tokana, anyway: Me tunton euimoti me.ABS nobody FOC-love-NEG "Nobody loves me" Here, the suffix "-oti" is really a sort of 'negative agreement' marker, which indicates the presence of negation somewhere else in the sentence (here, the quanifier "tunton"). This suffix is sometimes mistaken for a negative marker, however, since it frequently occurs without any other over indication of negation in the sentence: Me uimotiko me.ABS love-NEG-you.ERG "You don't love me" Here, I would argue, "-oti" is indicating the presence of an 'invisible' marker of negation. (This is similar to person/ number agreement morphology on verbs identifying the features of a null subject pronoun in 'pro-drop' languages like Italian.) In fact, this invisible negative morpheme may be optionally expressed as an overt preverbal particle, "tu". Thus the above sentence can be paraphrased as: Me tu uimotiko me.ABS NEG love-NEG-you.ERG "You don't love me" Incidentally, the similarity between Denden "tau-"/"turantos" and Tokana "tu"/"tunton" is pretty striking. Distant relatives, perhaps? :-) Matt.