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Negation in Nanti

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes standard and non-standard negation constructions in Nanti, a language of the Kampan branch of the Arawak family, focusing on the interaction between negation and reality status inflection in the language. Nanti exhibits a three-way constructional distinction between affirmative realis clauses, irrealis negated clauses, and ‘doubly irrealis’ clauses, which exhibit two irrealis parameters: negation and a parameter such as future temporal reference or conditional modality. Forms of main clause non-standard negation described include metalinguistic negation, existential negation, and ‘exhaustive’ negation. Negation in clause-linking constructions such as conditional, counterfactual, and purposive constructions is also described. Main clause negation construction types are typologized in terms of the paradigmatic and constructional (a)symmetries they exhibit: interaction between negation and reality status marking entails that standard negation is paradigmatically asymmetric, but this is not the case for metalinguistic negation, which does not affect reality status marking. Similarly, standard negation exhibits an aspectual neutralization symmetry, which metalinguistic negation lacks. Also discussed are reflexes in Nanti of the Proto-Arawak privative prefix *ma-, which are found only frozen as parts of verbal roots, and possibly, as part of the metalinguistic and existential negation particles.



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