[Lingtyp] fear + NEG

Kofi Yakpo kofi at hku.hk
Thu Mar 19 15:30:22 UTC 2015


Dear colleagues,



*fear* + negation of the complement clause verb is common in all more
basilectal varieties (i.e. more African-adstrate influenced varieties) of
the Afro-Caribbean English-lexifier Creoles of West Africa that I am
familiar with (Nigerian Pidgin, Cameroon Pidgin, Pichi, Krio). I am sure
that a survey of West African languages of diverse genetic affiliations
would show that this structure is widespread in other (non-Creole) African
languages of the West African linguistic area. An example from Pichi
(Equatorial Guinea) follows. Note that the complement clause is in the
subjunctive mood (expressed via the presence of a subjunctive
complementizer and the absence of tense marking in the complement clause),
similar to the use of subjonctif in French:



à          dè       fià      se       mek     è          no       kan
      tùmarà.

1sg.sbj ipfv      fear   quot    sbjv      3sg.sbj neg     come     tomorrow

‘I fear that he will come tomorrow/ lest he should tomorrow.’



quot = quotative marker/indicative complementizer

sbjv = subjunctive (deontic force) complementizer

Low tones: grave accent, High tones: unmarked



More acrolectal varieties (i.e. influenced by West African Standard
Englishes) look much more like English, and something like the following
example from Ghanaian Pidgin English. Here there is no subjunctive mood and
(future) tense marking in the complement clause



à           dè    fiɛ̀     se       ì            gò        kam
tùmɔrò

1sg.sbj ipfv    fear  quot    3sg.sbj  fut       come   tomorrow

‘I fear that he will come tomorrow/ lest he come tomorrow.’



Cheers,

Kofi
————
dr kofi yakpo • academia.edu <https://hku-hk.academia.edu/KofiYakpo> •
the-linguist.net • scholars hub <http://hub.hku.hk/cris/rp/rp01715>
assistant professor • postgraduate coordinator
linguistics • the university of hong kong



On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 8:55 PM, Everett, Daniel <DEVERETT at bentley.edu>
wrote:

>  Not sure if this is relevant to the discussion, since I haven’t followed
> it all closely. But there is certainly a contrast in my dialect/idiolect of
> English depending on the matrix verb:
>
>  English
>
>  I am afraid that he might not be looking for a job.
>
>  Means to me: He might not be looking for a job. I am afraid of that.
>
>  However:
>
>  I wonder if he might not be looking for a job.
>
>  Means to me: I wonder if he is looking for a job.
>
>  Dan
>
>  On Mar 19, 2015, at 8:47 AM, E. Bashir <ebashir at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
>
>   No, Steve, it really means 'I am afraid that he will/might come.', or
> slightly archaic 'I am afraid lest he come.'
>
>  Elena Bashir
>
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* Steve Pepper <pepper.steve at gmail.com>
> *To:* 'Anvita Abbi' <anvitaabbi at gmail.com>; 'Hartmut Haberland' <
> hartmut at ruc.dk>
> *Cc:* "'list, typology'" <LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>; 'Nina
> Dobrushina' <nina.dobrushina at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Thursday, March 19, 2015 3:10 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] fear + NEG
>
>   Far be it from me as a non-Hindi native (you can tell me off tomorrow
> if I’m wrong, Anvita :), but...
>
> Surely the NEG *na* means that the thing the speaker is afraid of is that
> he will * NOT* come?
> If so, I would translate the example more idiomatically as “I am afraid
> that he will not come” (despite the fact that the Hindi uses the
> subjunctive and not the future form of the verb).
>
> Steve मिर्च
>
>
>
>
>  *Fra:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org
> <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org>] *På vegne av* Anvita Abbi
> *Sendt:* 19. mars 2015 08:52
> *Til:* Hartmut Haberland
> *Kopi:* list, typology; Nina Dobrushina
> *Emne:* Re: [Lingtyp] fear + NEG
>
>  The Hindi sentence means He may come. I am afraid of that.
>  Anvita
>
>      www.andamanese.net
>  President: Linguistic Society of India
>
>
>
>  On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 1:10 PM, Hartmut Haberland <hartmut at ruc.dk>
> wrote:
>
>  I need a clarification here. The Japanese sentence can be paraphrased
> as: Something bad may have happened. I am afraid of that. But do the Hindi
> and French sentences mean: He may come. I am afraid of that. Or:  He may
> not come. I am afraid of that. ?
>  It could just be a question whether the complementizer means that or if
> (like Japanese ka); the latter would require a negation that disappears
> when the complementizer is rendered by a that-like conjunction in a
> different language.
>  Hartmut
>
> Sendt fra min iPhone
>
> Den 19/03/2015 kl. 08.17 skrev "Anvita Abbi" <anvitaabbi at gmail.com>:
>
>   Dear All,
>  Hindi is one language with such structures. One example is given here.
>  *mujhe       Dar     hai       ki           vo         aa       na
> jaye*
>  1sg.Dat     fear     AUX    COMP   3sg       come  NEG  come
>  Literal: 'I am afraid that he does not come'
>
>  Anvita
>
>        Prof. Anvita Abbi
>  Director: Centre for Oral and Tribal Literature
>  Sahitya Akademi
>  Rabindra Bhavan
>  35, Ferozeshah Road
>  New Delhi 110 001
>  www.andamanese.net
>  President: Linguistic Society of India
>
>
>
>  On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 5:09 PM, Michael Daniel <misha.daniel at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>  Dear all,
>
> below is a letter I post on behalf of Nina Dobrushina. If you have any
> references or ideas that you could share, please send them to her:
> nina.dobrushina at gmail.com (also in the copy above)
>
> Michael Daniel
>
> Dear all,
>
> could you give me hints on empirical evidence and literature about
> languages where the predicates of fear (‘fear’, ‘to be afraid’, ‘to worry’
> and the like) (tend to) have negation in the complement clause? I am aware
> of Russian, French (and other Romance languages), Japanese, and some Turkic
> languages like Kumyk. Two examples are provided below.
>
>
> French:
>
> Je    crain-s    que    la    lettre    n’    arrive        pas
> I    fear    COMPL    DEF    letter    NEG    come.SUBJ.3SG    NEG
>
> LT: 'I am afraid that the letter does not arrive'
> (less literal 'I am afraid that the letter may not arrive')
>
> Japanese (example courtesy Tasaku Tsunoda):
>
> Nanika        waru-i        koto=ga         oki-nak-at-ta=ka
> sinpai=da
> something        bad-NPST    thing=NOM    happen-NEG-LINK-PST=Q
> worried=COP.NPNST
>
> LT: ‘[I] am worried whether something bad did not happen.’
> FT: ‘I am worried that something bad happened.’
>
> Thanks,
>
> Nina Dobrushina
>
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