Volume 45, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The paper sketches the state of affairs of our understanding of postverbal negation. It departs from the typological finding that there is a cross-linguistic preference for a negator to precede the verb. Nevertheless, a sizable proportion of the world’s languages adhere to a pattern with a negator following the verb, and such negators are typically morphologically bound. The existence of this pattern, unfavorable from a functional perspective, calls for a diachronic explanation. The paper takes stock of diachronic processes that can lead to postverbal negation, in general, and suffixal negation, in particular. Furthermore, a language may acquire a pattern with postverbal negation through language contact, and this is yet another perspective that the paper addresses. Finally, we introduce the contributions to this volume, highlighting the new insights.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alves, Flávia de Castro
    2004 O Timbira falado pelos Canela Apãniekrá: Uma contribução aos estudos da morfossintaxe de uma língua Jê. Campinas: Universidade Estadual de Campinas PhD dissertation.
  2. 2010 Evolution of alignment in Timbira. International Journal of American Linguistics76(4). 439–475. 10.1086/658054
    https://doi.org/10.1086/658054 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bickel, Balthasar
    2013 Distributional biases in language families. InBalthasar Bickel, Lenore A. Grenoble, David A. Peterson & Alan Timberlake (eds.), Language typology and historical contingency, 415–444. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.104.19bic
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.104.19bic [Google Scholar]
  4. Bybee, Joan, William Pagliuca & Revere D. Perkins
    1990 On the asymmetries in the affixation of grammatical material. InWilliam Croft, Keith Denning & Suzanne Kemmer (eds.), Studies in typology and diachrony: Papers presented to Joseph H. Greenberg on his 75th birthday, 1–42. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.20.04byb
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.20.04byb [Google Scholar]
  5. Christmas, Raymond B. & J. Elisabeth Christmas
    1973a Clause patterns in Kupia. InRonald L. Trail (ed.), Patterns in clause, sentence, and discourse in selected languages of India and Nepal, Part 2: Clause (Publications in Linguistics and Related Fields 41), 257–343. Norman, OK: Summer Institute of Linguistics & University of Oklahoma.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. 1973b Kupia texts. InRonald L. Trail (ed.), Patterns in clause, sentence, and discourse in selected languages of India and Nepal, Part 3: Texts (Publications in Linguistics and Related Fields 41), 3–108. Norman, OK: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Costa, Lucivaldo Silva da
    2015 Uma descrição gramatical da língua Xikrín do Cateté (família Jê, tronco Macro-Jê). Brasilia: Universidade de Brasília PhD dissertation. 10.26512/2015.06.T.20098
  8. Croft, William
    1991 The evolution of negation. Journal of Linguistics27. 1–27. 10.1017/S0022226700012391
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700012391 [Google Scholar]
  9. Crowley, Terry
    2002 Port Sandwich. InJohn Lynch, Malcolm Ross & Terry Crowley (eds.), The Oceanic languages, 650–659. Richmond: Curzon.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. 2006The Avava language of Central Malakula (Vanuatu) (Pacific Linguistics 574), edited byJohn Lynch. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cutler, Anne, John A. Hawkins & Garry Gilligan
    1985 The suffixing preference: A processing explanation. Linguistics23. 723–758. 10.1515/ling.1985.23.5.723
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1985.23.5.723 [Google Scholar]
  12. Dahl, Östen
    1979 Typology of sentence negation. Linguistics17. 79–106. 10.1515/ling.1979.17.1‑2.79
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1979.17.1-2.79 [Google Scholar]
  13. 2010 Typology of negation. InLaurence R. Horn (ed.), The expression of negation, 9–38. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Dourado, Luciana Gonçalves
    2001 Aspectos morfossintáticos da língua Panará (Jê). Campinas: Universidade Estadual de Campinas PhD dissertation.
  15. Dryer, Matthew S.
    1988 Universals of negative position. InMichael Hammond, Edith A. Moravcsik & Jessica R. Wirth (eds.), Studies in syntactic typology (Typological Studies in Language 17), 93–124. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.17.10dry
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.17.10dry [Google Scholar]
  16. 2009 Negation patterns in West African languages and beyond. InNorbert Cyffer, Erwin Ebermann & Georg Ziegelmeyer (eds.), Verb-object-negative order in Central Africa (Typological Studies in Language 87), 307–362. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.87.15dry
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.87.15dry [Google Scholar]
  17. 2013a Order of negative morpheme and verb. InMatthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Available atwals.info/chapter/143 (last access9 June 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  18. 2013b Position of negative morpheme with respect to subject, object, and verb. InMatthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Available atwals.info/chapter/144 (last access9 June 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  19. 2013c Prefixing vs. suffixing in inflectional morphology. InMatthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Available atwals.info/chapter/26 (last access9 June 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  20. 2013d Negative morphemes. InMatthew Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Available atwals.info/chapter/112 (last access9 June 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Fricke, Hanna
    2019Traces of language contact: The Flores-Lembata languages in eastern Indonesia (LOT Dissertation Series 544). Utrecht: LOT.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Gildea, Spike & Sérgio Meira
    2016 A comparative survey of verbal negation in the Cariban family. Paper presented atAmazonicas VI, Leticia, May 23–28.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Givón, T.
    1971 Historical syntax and synchronic morphology: An archaeologist’s field trip. CLS7(1). 394–415.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. 1973 The Time-Axis Phenomenon. Language49. 890–925. 10.2307/412067
    https://doi.org/10.2307/412067 [Google Scholar]
  25. 1978 Negation in language: Pragmatics, function, ontology. InPeter Cole (ed.), Syntax and semantics, Vol. 9 (Pragmatics), 69–112. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. 2001Syntax: An Introduction, Volume I. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/z.syn1
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.syn1 [Google Scholar]
  27. Greenberg, Joseph H.
    1957 Order of affixing: a study in general linguistics. Essays in linguistics, 86–94. New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Güldemann, Tom
    2007 The Macro-Sudan belt: Towards identifying a linguistic area in northern sub-Saharan Africa. InBernd Heine & Derek Nurse (eds.), A linguistic geography of Africa, 151–185. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Horn, Laurence R.
    2001 [1989]A natural history of negation, 2nd edn.Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Idiatov, Dmitry
    2012 Clause-final negative markers in southeastern Bamana dialects: A contact-induced evolution. Africana Linguistica18. 169–192. 10.3406/aflin.2012.1009
    https://doi.org/10.3406/aflin.2012.1009 [Google Scholar]
  31. 2015 Clause-final negative markers in Bobo and Samogo: Parallel evolution and contact. Journal of Historical Linguistics5(2). 235–266. 10.1075/jhl.5.2.02idi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jhl.5.2.02idi [Google Scholar]
  32. 2018 An areal typology of clause-final negation in Africa: Language dynamics in space and time. InDaniël Van Olmen, Tanja Mortelmans & Frank Brisard (eds.), Aspects of linguistic variation, 115–163. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Jespersen, Otto
    1917Negation in English and other languages. Kopenhagen: Høst.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Jolkesky, Marcelo Pinho de Valhery
    2010 Reconstrução fonológica e lexical do Proto-Jê Meridional. Campinas: Universidade Estadual de Campinas MA thesis.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Klamer, Marian, Ger P. Reesink & Miriam van Staden
    2008 East Nusantara as a linguistic area. InPieter Muysken (ed.), From linguistic areas to areal linguistics, 95–149. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.90.03kla
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.90.03kla [Google Scholar]
  36. Krasnoukhova, Olga & Johan van der Auwera
    2021 South American postverbal standard negation. Manuscript, under revision. (Submitted). 10.20396/liames.v20i0.8658401
    https://doi.org/10.20396/liames.v20i0.8658401 [Google Scholar]
  37. Lafkioui, Mena B.
    2013 Reinventing negation patterns in Moroccan Arabic. InMena B. Lafkioui (ed.), African Arabic: Approaches to dialectology (Trends in Linguistics, Studies and Monographs 258), 51–94. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110292343.51
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110292343.51 [Google Scholar]
  38. Lafkioui, Mena B. & Vermondo Brugnatelli
    2020 Negation in Berber: Variation, evolution, and typology. Linguistics58(4). 967–1008. 10.1515/ling‑2020‑0010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2020-0010 [Google Scholar]
  39. Langdon, Margaret
    1970A grammar of Diegueño: The Mesa Grande dialect. (University of California Publications in Linguistics 66.) Berkeley: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Meillet, Antoine
    1912 L’évolution des formes grammaticales. Scientia12. 384–400. (Reprinted inMeillet, Antoine 1921 Linguistique historique et linguistique générale. 130–148. Paris: H. Champion.)
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Miestamo, Matti
    2005Standard negation. The negation of declarative verbal main clauses in a typological perspective. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Miranda, Maxwell
    2015 Negação em Krahô (família Jê) em uma perspectiva comparative [Negation in Krahô (Jê family) in a comparative perspective]. Revista Brasileira de Linguística Antropológica7. 245–274. 10.26512/rbla.v7i2.20599
    https://doi.org/10.26512/rbla.v7i2.20599 [Google Scholar]
  43. Munro, Pamela
    1973 Reanalysis and elaboration in Yuman negatives. Linguistic Notes from la Jolla5. 36–62.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. 1974 Topics in Mojave syntax. San Diego, CA: University of California PhD dissertation.
  45. 1976 Subject copying, auxiliarization and predicate raising: The Mojave evidence. International Journal of American Linguistics42(2). 99–112. 10.1086/465398
    https://doi.org/10.1086/465398 [Google Scholar]
  46. 1977 From existential to copula: The history of Yuman be. InCharles Li (ed.), Mechanisms of syntactic change, 445–490. New York: Academic Press. 10.7560/750357‑013
    https://doi.org/10.7560/750357-013 [Google Scholar]
  47. Muysken, Pieter, Harald Hammarström, Joshua Birchall, Swintha Danielsen, Love Eriksen, Ana Vilacy Galucio, Rik van Gijn, Simon van de Kerke, Vishnupraya Kolipakam, Olga Krasnoukhova, Neele Müller & Loretta O’Connor
    2014 The languages of South America: Deep families, areal relationships, and language contact. InLoretta O’Connor & Pieter Muysken (eds.), The native languages of South America: Origins, development, typology, 299–322. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Nikulin, Andrey
    2020 Proto-Macro-Jê: Um estado reconstrutivo. Brasilia: Universidade de Brasília PhD dissertation.
  49. Nikulin, Andrey & Mário André Coelho da Silva
    2020 As línguas Maxakalí e Krenák dentro do tronco Macro-Jê. Cadernos de Etnolingüística8(1). 1–64.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Payne, John R.
    1985 Negation. InTimothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description, Volume 1: Clause structure, 197–242. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Price, Glanville
    1962 The negative particles pas, mie, and point in French. Archivum Linguisticum14. 14–34.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. 1971The French language: Present and past. London: Edward Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Reesink, Ger
    2002 Clause-final negation: Structure and interpretation. Functions of Language9(2). 239–268. 10.1075/fol.9.2.06ree
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.9.2.06ree [Google Scholar]
  54. Ribeiro, Eduardo Rivail
    2012 A grammar of Karajá. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago PhD dissertation.
  55. Sapir, Edward
    1921Language. New York: Harcourt Brace and World.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Schapper, Antoinette
    2015 Wallacea, a linguistic area. Archipel90. 99–151. 10.4000/archipel.371
    https://doi.org/10.4000/archipel.371 [Google Scholar]
  57. Thackston, Wheeler M.
    2006Kurmanji Kurdish: A reference grammar with selected readings. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. van Alsenoy, Lauren
    2014 A new typology of indefinite pronouns, with a focus on negative indefinites. Antwerp: University of Antwerp PhD dissertation.
  59. van der Auwera, Johan
    2009 The Jespersen Cycles. InElly van Gelderen (ed.), Cyclical change, 35–71. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/la.146.05auw
    https://doi.org/10.1075/la.146.05auw [Google Scholar]
  60. van der Auwera, Johan & Olga Krasnoukhova
    2020 The typology of negation. InViviane Déprez & M. Teresa Espinal (eds.), The Oxford handbook of negation, 91–116. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. (forthc.) Revisiting postverbal standard negation in the Jê languages. To appear in: Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Ciências Humanas.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. van der Auwera, Johan, Olga Krasnoukhova & Frens Vossen
    In print Intertwining the negative cycles. InLjuba Veselinova & Arja Hamari (eds.), The Negative Existential Cycle from a historical-comparative perspective. Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  63. van der Auwera, Johan, Daniël Van Olmen & Frens Vossen
    (forthc.) Negation. InK. Alexander Adelaar & Antoinette Schapper eds. The Oxford guide to the Malayo-Polynesian languages of Asia and Madagascar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. van Gelderen, Elly
    2011The linguistic cycle: Language change and the language faculty. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756056.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756056.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  65. In print The Negative Existential and Other Cycles: Jespersen, Givón, and the Copula Cycle. InLjuba Veselinova & Arja Hamari (eds.) The Negative Existential Cycle from a historical-comparative perspective. Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Van Olmen, Daniel
    2010 Typology meets usage: The case of the prohibitive infinitive in Dutch. Folia Linguistica44(2). 471–508. 10.1515/flin.2010.017
    https://doi.org/10.1515/flin.2010.017 [Google Scholar]
  67. Verkerk, Annemarie & Shahar Shirtz
    In print Negative existentials in Indo-European: A typological and diachronic overview. InLjuba Veselinova & Arja Hamari (eds.), The Negative Existential Cycle from a historical-comparative perspective. Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Veselinova, Ljuba
    2014 The negative existential cycle revisited. Linguistics52(6). 1327–1369. 10.1515/ling‑2014‑0021
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2014-0021 [Google Scholar]
  69. Veselinova, Ljuba & Arja Hamari
    eds. In print. The Negative Existential Cycle from a historical-comparative perspective. Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Vossen, Frens & Johan van der Auwera
    2014 The Jespersen cycles seen from Austronesian. InMaj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen & Jaqueline Visconti (eds.), The diachrony of negation, 47–83. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.160.03vos
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.160.03vos [Google Scholar]
  71. Vossen, Frens
    2016 Towards a typology of the Jespersen Cycles. Antwerp: University of Antwerp PhD dissertation.
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error