query: grammaticalization go/be.in > negation

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at UNESCO.ORG
Thu Jan 31 11:53:33 UTC 2013

Hello David,

In Breton, yes.

Aed	eo	toud
Gone	is3sg	all
"it's all gone"
With the same meaning as in English. In French you have to use the verb "partir" = leave, not "aller" = go.



Steve Hewitt
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-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] On Behalf Of David Gil
Sent: 31 January 2013 05:30
Subject: query: grammaticalization go/be.in > negation

Dear all,

In English motherese, the expression 'allgone' is often used to express a negative concept involving the disappearance or absence of an entity previously present.

I am interested in ascertaining how common or rare it is, cross-linguistically, for a verb of motion (eg. 'go') or location (eg. 
'be in') to undergo extension of meaning, or grammaticalization, to express various negative concepts, as in the above 'allgone' example.

The reason behind this query is as follows.  In Roon (an Austronesian language of West Papua), the same verb has a range of meanings which includes 'be in' and 'disappear'.  (The logic behind this would seem to be that if something goes or is located somewhere else, then it is no 
longer here.)   In addition, the stem on which this verb is based is 
also used to form negative imperatives.  I am currently trying to figure out whether to analyze this in terms of macrofunctionality, polysemy, or accidental homophony, so whether similar patterns are attested cross-linguistically would be of relevance to the choice of analysis.

Looking forward to any responses,


David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550119
Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
Webpage:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/

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