Caucasus no's

Michael Daniel daniel at QUB.COM
Thu Apr 6 08:07:18 UTC 2006

Some more points.

1. One small comment from a colleague, Timur Maisak - negative clicks 
are different, the click is lateral in Bagvalal (and likely in some 
other Avar-Andian langauges?), while apical in Agul (and likely in some 
other Lezgic languages). This may actually correlate with the 
phonological structure of the language - Bagvalal has a rich set of 
laterals while it is not so in Agul.

2. Stephen Hewitt just made a remark that made me re-thinking the 
original query by Frans.
It is true that both Archi and Bagvalal, and probably other 
Nakh-Daghestanian, have a "grammatical" and "phonologically behaving" 
ways of sayin 'no' (in the case of Archi and Bagvalal this is the 
negative copula). Thus, non-phonological clicks are indeed something 
like huh-uh (hunh-unh?) in English. However, they are probably used 
wider; at least the Russian interjection parallel to the English one 
both phonetically (something like a sequence of two glottal stops) and 
functionally seems more limited. Which makes me to speculate a bit further.

Maybe, negative copulas, although used in this functions, are a bit too 
grammatical to be the main negative reaction reply in these languages 
(as if we would claim that "it isn't" is one of the English  'no's)? In 
other words, roughly speaking, is it not the case that languages tend to 
have an unanalyzable 'no'?

Which, historically, would support Frans's idea that languages tend to 
make ways of saying 'no's opaque as quick as possible.

Michael Daniel

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