[Lingtyp] Negation marks adverbial clauses

Bernhard Wälchli bernhard at ling.su.se
Wed Jan 12 11:31:38 UTC 2022

Dear Mohammad,

Dear all

Below there is some selected literature on expletive negation. In temporal clauses, negation is common especially in
=’before’: extremely widespread cross-linguistically, see e.g. Hetterle’s (2015) typological monograph.
=’until’: seems to be very restricted areally, mainly Eastern Europe & Caucasus and South Asia (Indo-Aryan and Indo-sphere Sino-Tibetan), but also Paumarí (maybe due to influence from Portuguese enquanto...não ?). In Eastern Europe and in Indo-Aryan, this seems to be a parallel rather recent development (i.e. not going back to Indo-European). An interesting question is how the possible areal relationship between modern Indo-Aryan and Indo-sphere Sino-Tibetan looks like: “as long as not” for ‘until’ is very common in some Sino-Tibetan languages. I think it is an interesting question as to what extent this may be due to contact with modern Indo-Aryan languages.
=”as soon as”: and there seems to be least typological research about this, but it is probably not at all uncommon with different sorts of constructions with negation strategies in “as soon as”, as e.g. in Turkish the -r -mez converb construction ben oturur oturmaz telefon çaldı ‘as soon as I sat down, the telephone rang’ “I sitting.down not.sitting.down telefon rang” (Lewis 2000: 182).

I think part of the explanation of where expletive negation can be found in temporal clauses is the following:
=Temporal clauses are temporal in two senses: a) related to time and b) not-permanent. A temporal clause cannot express a permanent state, but negation is not compatible with temporal clauses – to the extent it is not semantically phasal (“not yet” or “no longer”; cf. Heinämäki’s 1974: 183 example: When the lights were not on, we took a nap. cannot mean that the lights were never on, negation must be interpreted phasally here, that the lights probably were on most for of the time or at least quite often.). Which opens up for negation markers being used for other senses than polarity in temporal clauses.
=Negation expresses non-identity rather than identity. In temporal clauses, simultaneous is identity of events and posterior and anterior is non-identity of events. It would be utterly strange if negation was used in simultaneous temporal clauses (‘when, while’), I do not know of a single example of this and wonder whether there are any. It is, however, very clearly understandable that negation can be deployed for posterior meanings (‘before’ and ‘until’) and for some anterior ones (especially ‘as soon as’) since posterior and anterior is non-identity of times.

Some selected literature on expletive negation:
Abels, Klaus. 2005. “Expletive negation” in Russian: a conspiracy theory. Journal of Slavic Linguistics 13.1, 5–74.
Espinal, M. Teresa. 2000. Expletive negation, negative concord and feature checking. Catalan Working Papers in Linguistics 8: 47-69.
Greco, M. 2020. On the syntax of surprise negation sentences: A case study on expletive negation. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 38(3), 775–825.
Iordanskaja, L. & I. Mel’čuk. 2009. Semantics of the Russian conjunction poka ‘while, before, until’. In T. Berger, M. Giger, S. Kurt & I. Mendoza, Hg., Von grammatischen Kategorien und sprachlichen Weltbildern – Die Slavia von der Sprachgeschichte bis zur Politsprache. Wiener Slawistischer Almanach. Sonderband 73, 253–262. München.
Jin, Y. and Koenig, J.P., 2020. A cross-linguistic study of expletive negation.  Linguistic Typology 2021; 25(1): 39–78.
Wälchli, B. 2018/2019. ‘As long as’,’until’ and ‘before’ clauses. Baltic Linguistics 9, 141–236. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1351829/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Further references
Heinämäki, Orvokki Tellervo. 1974. Semantics of English temporal clauses. Ph.D. thesis. The University of Texas at Austin.
Hetterle, Katja. 2015. Adverbial Clauses in Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Berlin: De Grutyer Mouton.
Lewis, Geoffrey. 2000. Turkish Grammar. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of ROBERT Stephane <stephane.robert at cnrs.fr>
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2022 12:11 PM
To: Nigel Vincent; Françoise Rose; mohammad rasekh; LINGTYP LINGTYP
Cc: Fariba Sabouri
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Negation marks adverbial clauses

Dear Mohammad,

Nigel is absolutely right about the restriction of the negation to its first part (ne) in Françoise French example. However French also has another construction using the complete (discontinuous) negation (ne...pas) and using a temporal adverb, which seems to me be to be even closer to your Persian example 1:

Il n’a/eut pas plus tôt répondu à son supérieur qu’il a quitté la salle
he NEG1 has/had NEG2 more early responded to his superior COMP he left the room
"No sooner had he responded to his superior than he left the room"
~ "as soon as he (had) responded to his superior, he left the room "

Two points seem important to me in this negative construction which emphasizes the immediacy of the second event in relation to the first: the presence of the temporal adverbial in the comparative form plus tôt 'sooner' and the complementizer (que). The two (no sooner E1 that E1) form a correlative structure.



De : Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> de la part de Nigel Vincent <nigel.vincent at manchester.ac.uk>
Envoyé : mercredi 12 janvier 2022 10:29
À : Françoise Rose; mohammad rasekh; LINGTYP LINGTYP
Cc : Fariba Sabouri
Objet : Re: [Lingtyp] Negation marks adverbial clauses

In relation to the French example it should perhaps be added that in a clause with 'avant' only the first part of the negation marker 'ne…pas' occurs. Contrast 'elle n'arrive pas' and 'avant qu'elle n'arrive', where the first is ungrammatical without 'pas' and the second is ungrammatical with 'pas' (or so I was taught!).
Perhaps also relevant to Mohammad's question is the use of the Latin negative purposive complementizer ne 'in order that … not' as the marker of the complement of a verb of fearing (cf the volume referred to in an earlier post in this thread).

Professor Nigel Vincent, FBA MAE
Professor Emeritus of General & Romance Linguistics
The University of Manchester

Linguistics & English Language
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
The University of Manchester

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Françoise Rose <francoise.rose at univ-lyon2.fr>
Sent: 12 January 2022 9:53 AM
To: mohammad rasekh <mrasekhmahand at yahoo.com>; LINGTYP LINGTYP <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Cc: Fariba Sabouri <faribasabouri at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Negation marks adverbial clauses

Dear Mohammad,

this is a very common phenomenon in (rather formal) French:

avant qu’elle n’arrive, ….

before she arrives (lit. before she does not arrive)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any reading recommendation on the topic!


Françoise ROSE (fʁɑ̃swɑz ʁoz)

Directrice de Recherches 2ème classe, CNRS

Laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage (CNRS/Université Lyon2)

16 avenue Berthelot

69007 Lyon



De : Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> De la part de mohammad rasekh
Envoyé : mardi 11 janvier 2022 16:18
À : LINGTYP LINGTYP <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Cc : Fariba Sabouri <faribasabouri at gmail.com>
Objet : [Lingtyp] Negation marks adverbial clauses

Dear All,

I hope you have started a happy new year.

In the corpus of one of my students in Hamedani Persian (a variety spoken in Hamedan, west of Iran), we have found some adverbial clauses in which the verb is marked by negative prefix, but it does not mean negative. These adverbial clauses mark Time (meaning 'as soon as') and Reason, or both at the same time. Some examples:

1.        i               ke            kur          na-šod, man         diye          ruz-e xoš                 na-didam

        he            that         blind       NEG-become, I    anymore day-EZ happy     NEG-see-1SG

        As soon as he got blind, I had no good times.

2.      das       ke         ne-mi-keš-i                               ru harči,                       xāk-e

       hand     that      NEG-IND-touch-2SG               over     everything,       dirty-BE.3SG

    As you touch everything, it is dirty.

I wonder if there is any other language in which the adverbial clause is negative in form but not in meaning. I searched to find some evidence or some sources which mention this, but I was not successful. I appreciate your comments.

Best regards,


Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand

Linguistics Department,

Bu-Ali Sina University,

Hamedan, Iran.

Postal Code: 6517838695

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20220112/830ad765/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list