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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2021

Negation in Kambaata (Cushitic)

Yvonne Treis


The Ethiopian language Kambaata (Cushitic) has five distinct negative inflectional suffixes that negate (i) declarative main verbs and non-verbal predicates, (ii) imperatives , (iii) jussives and benedictives, (iv) converbs and (v) relative verbs. Affirmative and negative verb forms do not often match each other in a one-to-one relation, but paradigmatic and constructional asymmetries can be observed. Depending on the verb type, aspectual and modal distinctions are neutralized under negation, the number of different subject indexes is reduced, the distinction between same subject and different subject forms is lost, and changes occur in the morphological makeup of verb forms. Finally, not all affirmative paradigms have dedicated negative counterparts. Most noteworthy from a typological point of view are Kam-baata's negative relative verbs. Unlike affirmative relative verbs, which have exclusively verbal morphology, negative relative verbs are almost perfect verb-adjective hybrids with their combination of verbal and adjectival inflection. They index the person, gender, number and honorificity of their subject, and agree in case and gender with their head noun. Apart from inflectional means of negation, Kambaata has a productive privative derivation-beel '-less' that generates adjectives from nouns.

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Dates et versions

hal-02332852 , version 1 (25-10-2019)
hal-02332852 , version 2 (09-11-2020)
hal-02332852 , version 3 (25-08-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-02332852 , version 2


Yvonne Treis. Negation in Kambaata (Cushitic). Matti Miestamo; Ljuba Veselinova. Negation in the languages of the world, Language Science Press, In press. ⟨hal-02332852v2⟩
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