24.91, Qs: Lexicalization of Negative Senses

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LINGUIST List: Vol-24-91. Wed Jan 09 2013. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 24.91, Qs: Lexicalization of Negative Senses

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Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2013 09:55:17
From: Ljuba Veselinova [ljuba at ling.su.se]
Subject: Lexicalization of Negative Senses

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I am looking for data and literature on lexicalized negative senses such as
’not know’, ’not want’, ’not like’, ‘not listen’, ‘not believe’ or any other
expressions that can be semantically decomposed into a negative element and a
positive sense. In the data I currently have, such lexicalicalizations appear
to be of two kinds
(i) more or less transparent fusions of a negation marker and an affirmative
form as in modern spoken French /ʃepas/ < sais pas < [je ne] sais pas
(ii) completely unanalyzable, most probably lexical, stems as in Tundra Nenets
in (1a). Such stems have no formal resemblance with either the positive form
(1b) or the marker of standard negation (1c)
(1a) jexerasj ‘not know’
(1b) ténewasj ‘know’ 
(1c) n’i- negative auxiliary for standard negation 

I also have the impression that forms meaning ‘I don’t know’ may often split
from the paradigm and develop a more grammatical uses. For instance, the
Tundra Nenets form jekarɁ ‘I don’t know’ is described as a particle and can be
used as short negative answer as well as a negative particle external to the
proposition (Wagner-Nagy 2011: 129-131).

So far I have data on such lexicalizations from Slavic, Uralic and Polynesian,
and also from some dozen languages outside these families. I would like to
check the extent of this phenomenon in a larger cross-linguistic sample. Such
data are harder to come by than it might seem for several reasons: (a) they
are not necessarily included in grammars; (b) they are more suitable to be
looked up in a dictionary but for many poorly described languages, there are
no dictionaries.

I am aware of the literature on lexicalization (some key references are listed
below) and also of work on negative modals. An early note on similar
lexicalizations is found in Jespersen (1917). Croft (1991: 14-15) mentions
verbs meaning  ‘not-want’ and ‘not-like’ for Mam, Yapese, Tagalog, Wintu and
Latin.

As I said in the beginning, data and pointers to literature on this phenomenon
will be greatly appreciated. I will summarize if there is interest.

Thank you in advance for your time and help.

My best wishes,
Ljuba

References
Brinton, Laurel J., and Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2005. Lexicalization and
Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Caink, Andrew. 2000. Full Form Auxiliaries in Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian. In
ANNUAL WORKSHOP ON FORMAL APPROACHES TO SLAVIC LINGUISTICS: THE PHILADELPHIA
MEETING 1999, King, Tracy Holloway & Sekerina, Irina A. [Eds], Ann Arbor:
Michigan Slavic Publications, 2000, pp 61-77, ed. Andrew Caink.
Croft, William. 1991. The Evolution of Negation. Journal of Linguistics
27:1-39.
de Haan, Ferdinand. 1997. The Interaction of Negation and Modality: A
Typological Study: Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics Series: Garland
Publishers.
Goddard, Cliff. 2001. Lexico-semantic universals: A critical overview.
Linguistic Typology 5:1-65.
Grygar-Rechziegel, Adela. On the Typology of Czech Negative Adjectives. In
STUDIES IN WEST SLAVIC AND BALTIC LINGUISTICS, Barentsen, A. A., Groen, B. M.,
& Sprenger, R. [Eds], Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1991, pp 107-165, ed. Adela
Grygar-Rechziegel.
Hopper, Paul, and Traugott, Elizabeth. 1993. Grammaticalization. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Jespersen, Otto. 1917. Negation in English and other languages. København:
Hovedkommissionær: Andr, Fred, Høst & Søn, KGL. Hof-boghandel, Bianco Lunos
Bogtrykkeri.
Kim, Yong-Joo. 1997. Verb Lexicalization Patterns in Korean-With Focus on
Motion Conflation in Complex Verb Constructions. In JAPANESE/KOREAN
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PERSPECTIVES ON NEGATION AND POLARITY ITEMS, Hoeksema, Jack, Rullmann, Hotze,
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Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
                     Typology






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