Negation marking in Igbo

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At first sight Igbo as a whole unfolds different strategies to indicate negation. The major strategies are the use of negative affixes, inherently negative auxiliary verbs, tonal alternation, contrastive focus. Though we meet a richness of negation formation, there also common basic features and concepts emerging from the investigation: TAM categories may be neutralized when being negated. Negation provokes a wide range segmental and tonal changes within the scope of negation. As observed in many other languages, there is a clash when negation and focus interact. As the two seem to clash, special strategies must be applied to bring the two together. One such strategy is to apply a cleft-like construction, involving two clauses and an obligatory movement of the negated constituent to the ‘focal point’. Another cause for the explanation of the richness of negation in Igbo is the fact that different negation patterns are applied in constituent and predication negation.


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