Clause-final negation and the Jespersen cycle in Logoori

Marjorie Pak


This paper looks at Jespersen-cycle effects in Logoori (Bantu, western Kenya), where a clause-final adverb daave (NEG2) reinforces or replaces the older negative prefixes si- and ta- (NEG1). In main-clause indicatives, NEG1 is nearly obsolete ((?si)-a-sooma daave ‘s/he’s not reading’), while in subjunctives NEG1 remains obligatory (u-*(ta)-sooma daave ‘don’t read’). Recognizing that this pattern cannot be fully attributed to the phonological weakness of NEG1 (cf. Jespersen 1917:4ff), I provide a supplementary grammar-competition analysis, in which the availability of a high-attaching, semantically negative daave in main clauses leads to the rapid erosion of NEG1 si-.


negation; Jespersen cycle; grammar competition; Bantu; Luyia

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