Negation in Sixteen Yorùbá Dialects


This paper examines the various morpho-syntactic distributions of negation in sixteen Yorùbá dialects and comes up with some interesting questions, observations and claims. Negation is contextualised in the dialects; it is marked by different elements within the word and within the sentence. Some of the NEG formatives examined are used to negate the indicative expressions, others are used in the imperative mood while some others are mainly used to negate the focus marker. Nearly all the NEG Morphemes examined precede the verb except má/mó [+NEG] which may be used at the end of the VP. This work believes that within the scope of àì [+NEG], it is not a complex negative morpheme; the low-toned “à” is regarded as the negator in the syntax of Yorùbá negation. Following Ouhalla (1999), this work takes the NEG to belong to a category known as the Negative Phrase. It functions as a syntactic Head which projects into a NegP. Here, NEG is taken as an independent category which projects its own X-bar structure NegP; it inhabits a borderline between functional and lexical projections. We observe that the differences between the morphemes of negation in these sixteen Yorùbá dialects are of linguistic change. We also realise in this work that in as much as morphemes of negation in Yorùbá dialects commute with the aspecto-modal marker of negative polarity, they can be placed in the position of the functional category Asp. In essence, negation in the sixteen Yorùbá dialects commutes with the tense/aspecto-modal nuances. The various NEG morphemes of the Yorùbá dialects discussed in this paper have shown that the verbo-aspectual negative polarity subsumes very much as a strong feature.

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Fábùnmi, F. (2013). Negation in Sixteen Yorùbá Dialects. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 1-8. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.31001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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