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Bookmark and Share Paper 2966

Surrogate Imperatives in Bantu Languages with Postverbal Negative Particles
Deo S. Ngonyani
177-187 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Rivero (1994) makes a distinction between true imperatives (imperatives with unique morphology) and surrogate imperatives (imperatives that make use of the morphology of other moods or features). For negative commands, some languages use true imperative with negation and others use surrogate imperatives. Zejlstra (2004) suggests that only languages in which the negative is X° impose a ban on true negative imperative. This paper reviews this generalization in the light of data from Tanzanian Bantu languages of Kikisi, Kindendeule, Chingoni, and Kimatuumbi, all of which have postverbal negative clitic and use surrogate negative. The particles are ndali (Kikisi), yee (Kindendeule), hee (Chingoni) and (Kimatuumbi). The data show that the negative particles exhibit distributional features of adverbs. The languages in this study do not have a true negative imperative. The verb morphology used for imperative cannot combine with negation to express a negative command. Instead, a negative command is expressed by the prohibitive -somu (Kikisi), -koto (Kindendeule and Chingoni) 'stop' and -kotoka (Kimatuumbi) 'do not do' together with an infinitive form of the main verb. The paper argues that the ban on negative imperative is due to the adjunction occurring too low to have scope over the illocutionary force in ForceP.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Interfaces in African Languages
edited by lanik la Orie and Karen W. Sanders
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00