Volume 25, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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While there are several analyses of negation in American Sign Language (ASL), the phenomenon of negative incorporation has been overlooked in the generative literature, except for Sandler’s (1999) phonological analysis. The phonological approach makes several useful generalizations but is not without its drawbacks. We, therefore, situate our analysis in the Distributed Morphology framework and argue that negative incorporation is best analyzed as a case of negative suppletion. We motivate our approach based on the observations that (i) negative incorporation is sentential negation, (ii) negative incorporation blocks the occurrence of the canonical negation strategy for the affected verbs, and (iii) there is no verb-to-Neg movement in ASL. When taken together, these factors indicate that negative incorporation cannot be affixation. Suppletion, however, alleviates the problematic aspects of the phonological analysis while maintaining the relevant phonological generalizations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): American Sign Language; Distributed Morphology; negation; negative incorporation
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