Journal of African Languages and Linguistics
Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb
2 Issues per year
IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.071
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Jespersen cycles in Bantu: double and triple negation
This paper gives an overview of post-verbal negative marking in Bantu languages. It shows that, although Bantu studies tend to concentrate on negation marked on the verb itself, post-verbal negative markers are well represented within the Bantu domain and high concentrations can be found in zones B, C, H and L. It is argued that locative pronouns, possessive pronouns and negative (answer) particles are recurrent sources of negative markers in Bantu languages. It is claimed that they take part in what is generally known as a Jespersen cycle: they initially reinforce the original negator and eventually become obligatory for the expression of negation resulting in a double negative construction. It will be shown that in Bantu languages a new Jespersen cycle can set in before the original negator has been lost, yielding triple negative constructions, which are much more rarely attested world-wide.
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