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Verb-object-negative order in central Africa

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Abstract

Crosslinguistically, SVO languages most commonly place negative particles before the verb, employing SNegVO order. This paper documents an area in central Africa which deviates from this pattern, in which the negative follows the verb, typically occurring at the end of the clause, in SVONeg order. The languages in which this order is found do not form a natural class genetically, since they belong to three different families: Niger-Congo (including Adamawa-Ubangian, Platoid, northern Bantoid among others), Nilo-Saharan (especially Bongo-Bagirmi, but also Kresh and a few other groups), and Afro-Asiatic (specifically Chadic, but found widely throughout Chadic). The area stretches from Nigeria across to the Central African Republic and down into the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

References

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