Query: Negation and case marking

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Fri Oct 30 13:59:07 UTC 2009

Dear John,
just a brief note: The selection of the accusative case is not confined 
to (or just typical for) arab./ laysa/ 'is not': It is also given e.g.  
with the past 'equational' /ka:na/ 'was', e.g.
ka:na                  'l-walad-u             jami:l-a-n/
be:PAST:3Sg:m   ART-boy-NOM      nice-ACC-INDEF
'The boy was nice'

laysa 'is not' just behaves like ka:na (being inflected as a perfective 
verb just as it it treu for ka:na). The accusative also replaces the 
nominative (among others) with:

- the focal particles /'inna  /and /'anna /
- the /'ayyuha:-/vocative
- the /ya:/-vocative, in case the referent is absent or contextually 
- the negative copula /la: /
- the mirative

In fact, the selection of the accusative has much to do with the heavily 
debated nature of the original Semitic case pattern (S=A;O (ACC) or 
S=O;A (ERG)), but not with negation as such.
For some more details see: Michael Waltisberg 2002. Zur 
Ergativitätshypothese im Semitischen. /ZDMG/ 152,11-62.
Best wishes,

john.stewart at IUED.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE schrieb:
> Dear Matti,
> There is a related, but maybe not directly relevant phenomenon in Arabic.
> Modern Standard Arabic has various negative particles that
> occur together with verbs in different tenses and aspects. But
> "equational" sentences in the present tense work differently (Arabic has
> no copula). In a positive equational sentence, the predicate is marked
> with nominative case.
> 'as-samaa'(u) saafiya(tun)
> The sky is clear.
> But in the negated counterpart to this sentence, the negative verb
> 'laysa' is used, and the predicate then takes the accusative case:
> ('a)s-samaa'(u) laysat saafiya(tan)
> DEF.ART-sky-NOM is-not clear-ACC.INDEF
> The sky is not clear.
> On the other hand, it is not only the negative verb 'laysa' that can 
> have this
> effect on phrases in the predicate; adverbs in Arabic are always in 
> the accusative case.
> Corrections/elaborations are welcome from anyone better versed in 
> Arabic grammar!
> Cheers,
> John Stewart


*Prof. Dr. Wolfgang 
Schulze    *                                                               


/Primary contact: 

Institut für Allgemeine & Typologische Sprachwissenschaft     

Dept. II / F 13                  

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München                                 

Ludwigstraße 25                                         

Postanschrift / Postal address: Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1

D-80539 München                                  

Tel.: 0049-(0)89-2180-2486 


Fax:  0049-(0)89-2180-16567 // 

Email: W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de 
<mailto:W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de> /// Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de 
<mailto:Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de>                                      

Web: http://www.ats.uni-muenchen.de/personen/professoren/schulze/index.html




Katedra Germanistiký        

Fakulta humanitných 

Univerzita Mateja Béla / Banská 


SK-97401 Banská 


Fax: (00421)-(0)48-4465512   

Email: Schulze at fhv.umb.sk 
<mailto:Schulze at fhv.umb.sk>                                                                             

Web: http://www.fhv.umb.sk/app/user.php?user=schulze        



-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20091030/4ed1963b/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list