Journal of West African Languages

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Negation Patterns in the Kwa Language Group Negation Patterns in the Kwa Language Group


There currently exists extensive literature written on the topic of negation but only recently have studies of negation begun to expand outside of the limited scope of Indo-European languages. Linguists are finding that certain patterns thought to be cross-linguistic occur mainly in this most heavily studied language family. The intent of this article is to provide a succinct survey of the negation strategies in a collection of Kwa (Niger-Congo) languages in order to contribute to the literature on negation. Commonly cited patterns such as Jespersen’s cycle (Jespersen 1917) are almost entirely unattested in this language group. There is a consistent pattern of marking negation in Akan, Ewe, and the North Guang languages involving the use of a preverbal nasal morpheme. Interestingly three South Guang languages utilize instead a verbal prefix bÉ-. The Ga-Dangme languages stand out from other Kwa languages in their use of verbal suffixes rather than prefixes. The Ghana-Togo Mountain languages of the Kwa group also do not rely on preverbal nasal negation marking.


Volume Number 45.1
Topic #1 Negation
Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Language English
Language Family Kwa
Subject Language Akan, Ewe, Ga

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