Query: Negation and case marking

Claire Moyse moyse at VJF.CNRS.FR
Fri Oct 30 13:07:38 UTC 2009

Dear Matti,

What Ljuba points out is indeed common in Polynesian languages,  but not 
in all Oceanic languages.
See: Hovdhaugen Even and Ulrike Mosel (eds), 1999. Negation in Oceanic 
languages. Lincom Studies in Austronesian Linguistics 2

Best regards,

Claire Moyse-Faurie
Directeur de recherche - Lacito-CNRS (UMR 7107)
7 rue Guy Môquet    F-94800  Villejuif
tél. 33 (0)1 49 58 37 65   fax 33 (0)1 49 58 37 79

Ljuba Veselinova a écrit :
> Hi Matti,
> what comes to mind right are all the Oceanic languages I've looked at.
> The NP in negated constructions regularly changes over to the
> indefinite article or in some cases to the non-specific article. Here
> is an example from Samoan
> a.	E	iai	le	taàvale	a	Tomi
> 	GENR	exist	SPEC.ART	car	POSS	Tom
>  	‘Tom has a car’
> b.	E	leai	se	taàvale	a	Tomi
> 	GENR	not.exist	INDEF.ART	car	POSS	Tom
> 	‘Tom does not have a car’
> It is my impression that such effects on NPs in negated clauses,
> either by case marking, or article change,  or something else are
> actually very common. I'm trying to summarize them right now but my
> focus is mostly on existentials and I look at predicate possession
> only.
> Looking forward to your summary.
> All the best,
> Ljuba
> On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM, Matti Miestamo
> <matti.miestamo at helsinki.fi> wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> it is rather well-known that negation affects case marking in some Uralic
>> and Indo-European (Slavic, Baltic) languages as well as in Basque. I'm not
>> aware of any large-scale typological studies of the interaction of case
>> marking and negation and haven't looked at it systematically myself either,
>> but having examined other aspects of negation in a large number of
>> languages, my impression is that such effects occur quite rarely outside
>> Europe. I'm now planning to examine the phenomenon typologically and I'm
>> posting this query to get more information on languages where negation
>> affects case marking in some ways.
>> The following examples illustrate the case alternations in Finnish:
>> (1) Finnish (constructed examples)
>>  a. söin        banaani-n
>>    eat.PST.1SG banana-GEN
>>    'I ate a/the banana.'
>>  b. söin        banaani-a
>>    eat.PST.1SG banana-PART
>>    'I {ate some / was eating a/the} banana.'
>>  c. en      syönyt       banaani-a
>>    NEG.1SG eat.PST.PTCP apple-PART
>>    'I didn't eat / wasn't eating a/the banana.'
>> In these examples, the object of the affirmative may be either genitive or
>> partitive (with meaning distinctions having to do with quantification,
>> aspect etc.), but in the negative only the partitive is possible. (The
>> situation is actually more complex, and the nominative is used instead of
>> the genitive in some environments, but these examples suffice to illustrate
>> the phenomenon for the present purposes.) Related case asymmetries between
>> affirmatives and negatives are also found in some existential sentences in
>> Finnish, where subjects can be either nominative or partitive in the
>> affirmative but the negative has to use the partitive.
>> Alternations are not restricted to affixal case marking. In French negatives
>> the partitive marker de occurs instead of indefinite articles in most
>> contexts: Je mange une pomme 'I eat / am eating an apple' / Je ne mange pas
>> de pomme 'I do not eat / am not eating an apple'.
>> I would be grateful for any pointers to languages where case marking (or the
>> marking of nominal participants more broadly) is affected by negation.
>> I will post a summary to the list, so you may reply off-list if you like.
>> Best wishes,
>> Matti
>> --
>> Matti Miestamo
>> <http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~matmies/>

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