[Lingtyp] Does bipolar polysemy exist?

Mark Donohue mark at donohue.cc
Thu May 31 17:49:01 EDT 2018


Hi David,

After posting I thought of that use of ta(a)u.
It's not quite analogous.
The Tukang Best dahani _can_ be associated with a lengthened syllable when
being used negatively (data:ni), but not when used in it's 'normal' sense.
In both cases you hear LHL over the three syllables; the marked negative
use _can_ be phonologically marked, but doesn't have to be,
but,
I do think (straining memory) that when the lengthened syllable is not
heard, there's an almost inevitable use of the raised eyebrows/headtilt
strategy that I described in my grammar (
https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0RW0uSfFMzYC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false,
page 450+).
Note, if we're going paralinguistic here, that this same
eyebrows+headtilt+nose-flare strategy is a valid means of responding both
'yes' and 'no'.

A: "Do you know/undestand?"
B: [eyebrows+headtilt+nose-flare]
A: …?

Parenthetically, I note that this body language response is used
felicitously at night time when there's no chance of the interlocutor
seeing the gesture, adding layers of excitement to interaction.

-Mark


On 1 June 2018 at 06:45, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:

> Mark,
>
> An analogous construction exists in many or most varieties of colloquial
> Indonesian, however it's associated with a particular and distinctive
> intonation contour.  Typically the contrast is as follows:
>
> tau (know)
> taaa[L]u[H] (I don't know)
>
> Unlike in Tukang Besi, in Indonesian verbs are not indexed for person and
> number.  But whereas the affirmative "tau" can be associated with any
> person and number features, the negative "taaa[L]u[H]" can only be
> understood as 1st person singular.
>
> In very few cases, this construction extends also to
>
> mau (want)
> maaa[L]u[H] (I don't want)
>
> but for the most part it's limited to "know'.
>
> A similar if not identical construction occurs in Tagalog with the word
> "maniwala" (believe).  With a low even tone spread over the entire
> utterance, "maniwala ako", which otherwise means "I believe", ends up with
> the opposite interpretation "I don't believe".
>
> However, in both the Indonesian and the Tagalog, negation is marked
> suprasegmentally, in what might be called an intonational idiom.  So my
> question to you, Mark is:  when Tukang Besi "Dahani" is used to mean "I
> don't know", does it have the same intonation contour as in the affirmative
> or a different one?
>
> David
>
> On 31/05/2018 22:32, Mark Donohue wrote:
>
> In Tukang Besi, an Austronesian language of Indonesia, the verb 'know' is
> dahani; verbs are generally prefixed to agree with the S,A argument, thus
>
> ku-dahani 'I know'
> 'u-dahani 'you know'
>
> etc.
> In some contexts (imperatives, emphatic generic (TAME-less) assertion),
> the prefix can be omitted.
>
> dahani 'I/you certainly know'
>
> Now, I've heard this (and only this) verb used, in the absence of any
> inflection, with exactly its opposite meaning
>
> Dahani 'I don't know'
>
> in what might be a sarcastic sense. Unlike the antonymic uses of many
> adjectives in many languages, including English, this use of dahani is
> actually a simple (though emphatic) negation of the verb's 'normal' meaning.
>
> -Mark
>
> On 1 June 2018 at 04:43, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
>
>> Yes, as Matti points out, negative lexicalization is not quite as rare as
>> I was implying.  Yet at the same time, I suspect that it might not be as
>> common as Matti is suggesting.  Looking at the examples that he cites in
>> his Handbook chapter, I suspect that in some cases, the negative
>> counterpart isn't "just" negative, but is also associated with some
>> additional meaning components.
>>
>> Matti doesn't list "good"/"bad" as being such a pair, though, citing work
>> by Ulrike Zeshan on sign languages, he does mention other evaluative
>> concepts such as "not right", "not possible", "not enough".  in English, at
>> least, "bad" is not the negation of "good", it is the antonym of "good";
>> there's all kind of stuff in the world which we attach no evaluative
>> content to, and which hence is neither good nor bad. (It's true that in
>> English, in many contexts, the expression "not good" is understood as
>> meaning "bad", which is interesting in and of itself, but still, it is not
>> necessarily understood in this way.) While I have no direct evidence, I
>> would strongly suspect that in languages that have lexicalized expressions
>> for "not right", "not possible", and "not enough", the meanings of these
>> expressions will be the antonyms of "right", "possible" and "enough", and
>> not their negations.
>>
>> Under lexicalized negatives in the domain of tense/aspect, Matti lists
>> "will not", "did not", "not finished".  Well the one case that I am
>> familiar with that falls into this category is that of the Malay/Indonesian
>> iamative/perfect marker "sudah", which has a lexicalized negative
>> counterpart "belum".  However, "belum" isn't just "not sudah"; it also
>> bears a strong (if not invariant) implicature that at some point in the
>> future, the state or activity that is not complete will be completed — in
>> fact, just like the English expression "not yet".  (When people in
>> Indonesia ask you if you're married, it's considered impolite to answer
>> with a simple negation "tidak"; you're supposed to say "belum" precisely
>> because of its implicature that you will, in the future, get married.  By
>> avoiding this implicature, the simple negation "tidak" is viewed as a
>> threat to the natural order of things, in which everybody should get
>> married.)
>>
>> I suspect that many if not all of the cases characterized by Matti as
>> "lexicalized negatives" will turn out to be associated with some additional
>> meaning component beyond that of "mere" negation.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 31/05/2018 20:06, Miestamo, Matti M P wrote:
>>
>>> Dear David, Zygmunt and others,
>>>
>>> negative lexicalization is not quite as rare as David seems to imply.
>>> There is a cross-linguistic survey of this phenomenon by Ljuba Veselinova
>>> (ongoing work, detailed and informative presentation slides available
>>> through her website), and Zeshan (2013) has written on this phenomenon in
>>> sign languages. There's also a short summary in my recent Cambridge
>>> Handbook of Linguistic Typology chapter on negation (preprint available via
>>> the link in the signature below).
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> Matti
>>>
>>> --
>>> Matti Miestamo
>>> http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~matmies/
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Zygmunt Frajzyngier <Zygmunt.Frajzyngier at COLORADO.EDU> kirjoitti
>>>> 31.5.2018 kello 17.23:
>>>>
>>>> David, Friends
>>>> Related to David’s post, not to the original query.
>>>> In any individual language, there may exist a few of ‘Not-X’ items.
>>>> In Mina (Central Chadic) there is a noun which designates
>>>> ‘non-blacksmith’.
>>>> In several Chadic languages there exist negative existential verb
>>>> unrelated to the affirmative existential verb.
>>>> Zygmunt
>>>>
>>>> On 5/31/18, 5:52 AM, "Lingtyp on behalf of David Gil" <
>>>> lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org on behalf of gil at shh.mpg.de>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>     On 31/05/2018 13:37, Sebastian Nordhoff wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> On 05/31/2018 01:18 PM, David Gil wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> A point of logic.  "Not X" and "Antonym (X)" are distinct notions, and
>>>>>> the original query by Ian Joo pertains to the former, not the latter.
>>>>>>
>>>>> but is there any (monomorphemic) lexeme which expresses not-X which is
>>>>> not the antonym of X?
>>>>>
>>>>     But how many (monomorphemic) lexemes expressing not-X are there at
>>>> all?
>>>>     The only ones I can think of are suppletive negative existentials,
>>>> e.g.
>>>>     Tagalog "may" (exist) > "wala" (not exist). Even suppletive negative
>>>>     desideratives don't quite fit the bill, e.g. Tagalog "nais"/"gusto"
>>>>     (want) > "ayaw", which is commonly glossed as "not want", but
>>>> actually
>>>>     means "want not-X", rather than "not want-X" — "ayaw" is thus an
>>>> antonym
>>>>     but not a strict negation of "nais"/"gusto".
>>>>
>>>>     What is not clear to me about the original query is whether it is
>>>> asking
>>>>     for negations or for antonyms.
>>>>
>>>>     --
>>>>     David Gil
>>>>
>>>>     Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>>>>     Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>>>>     Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>>>> <https://maps.google.com/?q=Kahlaische+Strasse+10,+07745+Jena,+Germany&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>>>
>>>>     Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
>>>>     Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
>>>>     Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>>>>
>>>>     _______________________________________________
>>>>     Lingtyp mailing list
>>>>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>>>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Lingtyp mailing list
>>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Lingtyp mailing list
>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>
>>
>> --
>> David Gil
>>
>> Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>> Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>> <https://maps.google.com/?q=Kahlaische+Strasse+10,+07745+Jena,+Germany&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>
>> Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
>> Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
>> Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Lingtyp mailing list
>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>
>
>
> --
> David Gil
>
> Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human HistoryKahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany <https://maps.google.com/?q=Kahlaische+Strasse+10,+07745+Jena,+Germany&entry=gmail&source=g>
>
> Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
> Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
> Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>
>
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20180601/f3da7f27/attachment.html>


More information about the Lingtyp mailing list