A negation-tense interaction in Georgian Sign Language
We describe an intriguing interaction of negation and tense in Georgian Sign Language (GESL), a sign language which to date has received close to no attention by linguists. GESL verbs that employ an irregular negation strategy in the present tense (modal verbs and the verb know) require double marking in the past tense, i.e. the irregular negative form combines with the negative particle not, which is not used in the present and future tense with these verbs. The GESL data thus provide us with direct evidence for an active contribution of the feature tense in the grammar of GESL – in contrast to most other sign languages previously studied. We also offer a cross-linguistic perspective on the data by discussing instances of Negative Concord reported for various sign languages as well as tense-negation interactions attested in spoken languages.
Keywords: Georgian Sign Language, modal verb, negation, tense, Negative Concord