[Lingtyp] Clauses without any overt predicative content (and negation)

Randy J. LaPolla randy.lapolla at gmail.com
Sat Dec 4 09:53:22 UTC 2021

What I understood as what Bastian was asking for is cases like Japanese zenzen 全然 ‘completely’ and betsu ni 別に ‘particularly’ came to be used with negative predicates so often they can be used alone as an utterance to mean ’nothing’ and ’nothing in particular’.

Professor Randy J. LaPolla(罗仁地), PhD FAHA 
Center for Language Sciences
Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences
Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai Campus
A302, Muduo Building, #18 Jinfeng Road, Zhuhai City, Guangdong, China


> On 3 Dec 2021, at 7:01 PM, Bastian Persohn <persohn.linguistics at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear lingtyp members,
> Do you know of any good discussion of how clauses without any overt predicative content are interpreted, especially in regards to polarity?
> I’m thinking of the following type, where bado 'still' becomes its negative equivalent 'not yet' in the absence of overt predicative content, a pattern
> that is attested in many languages around the globe.
> (1) Imerudi kutengenezwa {au bado}?
> it.has.returned be.fixed or still
> ʻHas it (fan) be fixed again or not yet?ʼ
> (Ashton 1947: 392)
> (2) Kwa sasa maji yametoka mtoni (Malulumo) na kufika Mgera {lakini vijiji vingine bado}.
> For now water it.has.come.from at.river M. and arrive M. but villages other still
>  ‘As for now, the water has come from the river (Malulumo) and reached Mgera, but not other villages yet.’
> (Helsinki Corpus of Swahili 2.0)
> Obviously, in (1, 2) the disjunctive context also plays a role, but cf. the Western Dani examples (3, 4).
> Again, variations over the same theme appear to be pretty common.
> (3) Yi awo
> river still
> ʻThe river has not yet been swelled.ʼ
> (Barclay 2008: 440)
> (4) Nin-ogoba awo
> our.father still
> ʻOur father, no!ʼ (Barclay 2008: 441)
> Thanks a lot!
> Best,
> Bastian
> References
> Ashton, Ethel O. 1947. Swahili grammar (including intonation). London: Longmans, Green and Co
> Barclay, Peter. 2008. A grammar of Western Dani. Munich: Lincom.
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