Chapter published in:Negation and Negative Concord: The view from Creoles
Edited by Viviane Déprez and Fabiola Henri
[Contact Language Library 55] 2018
► pp. 191–210
Elements of denial in Capeverdean
The negator ka and the properties of n-words
This paper aims at showing that Capeverdean, a Portuguese-based Creole, is a strict Negative Concord language. In fact, n-words (Laka 1990) like ningen ‘no.one’ and nada ‘nothing’ always co-occur with sentential negation, be they in preverbal or postverbal position. This means that they are prohibited in all non-negative clauses, including modal contexts. Syntactically, they show a behavior typical of weak Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) as described in Martins (2000). Following Giannakidou (2002), I propose that, semantically, these n-words are universal quantifiers with no intrinsic negative meaning. Finally, I briefly address the adverbs tioxi and nunka, which roughly mean ‘never’: the former is also a weak NPI but not a quantifier, the latter may be ambiguous between a strong and a weak NPI, and seems a quantifier.
Keywords: Capeverdean, sentential negation, Negative Concord, -words, universal quantifiers
Published online: 12 December 2018
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