positive and negative existential items

Daniel Everett dan.everett at MAN.AC.UK
Fri Jan 31 16:13:39 UTC 2003

SIL member David Landin wrote an MA thesis over 20 years ago (under, I
believe, Geoff Pullum's direction) on clause structure in Karitiana. He
argued that negative sentences are unmarked and that positive sentences
are marked (with an affirmative marker), thus violating a well-known
universal, if he is correct. More recently, Luciana Storto wrote a
descriptive grammar of Karitiana at MIT as her PhD dissertation. I know
she mentions the Landin claim, but cannot remember what she says,
exactly, but her thesis should be looked at.

Piraha negatives vs. positives work in a manner similar to the Turkish
case you mention. (see vol. 1 of the Handbook of Amazonian Languages)


Dan Everett

Dan Everett
Professor of Phonetics and Phonology
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester, UK
M13 9PL
Phone: 44-161-275-3158
Department Fax: 44-161-275-3187

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