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LINGUIST List 21.2431

Wed Jun 02 2010

Qs: Negation in Hawai'ian

Editor for this issue: Danielle St. Jean <daniellelinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Ljuba Veselinova, Negation in Hawai'ian

Message 1: Negation in Hawai'ian
Date: 28-May-2010
From: Ljuba Veselinova <ljubaling.su.se>
Subject: Negation in Hawai'ian
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I am working on negative existentials in Polynesian languages. Right
now I'm trying to sort out the uses of the two main negation markers in
Hawai'ian, the standard negation 'a'ole and the negative existential
'a'ohe. I was told that they are completely interchangeable in all
contexts. However, I wonder if this is entirely true.

In the grammars I consulted (Elbert and Pukui, 1979, Hawkins, 1982,
Judd, 1978, Kahananui and Anthony, 1975), I found examples where
the perfective marker ua is replaced by the standard negator 'a'ole plus
i when negated.

(1) Hawai'ian (Elbert and Pukui, 1979: 142)
Ua    hele ke     kanaka
PFV  go   DET  man
'The man has (just now) gone.'

(2) Hawai'ian (Elbert and Pukui, 1979: 142)
'a'ole  i                hele  ke    kanaka
NEG  PFV.NEG  go    DET  man
'The man did not go.'

My first question is about (2) above - it is possible to use the negative
existential 'a'ohe instead of the 'a'ole? If yes, does the use of 'a'ohe
lead to any difference in meaning - stylistic or something else?

The negative existential 'a'ohe appears to be used in a negated verbal
sentence when the perfectivity/completeness of the action has been
indicated by the o-possessive constructions:

(3) Hawai'ian (Elbert and Pukui, 1979: 142)
'o        kō      lāua   hele akula   nō       ia
SUBJ POSS 3.DU  go   DIR      indeed  then
'The two then went.'

(4) Hawai'ian (Kahananui and Anthony, 1975: 372)
'a'ohe      o         lakou  hana
NEG.EX  POSS 3.PL   work
'They didn’t work.'

It appears to be used with negated modal meaning as well:

(5) Hawai'ian (Kahananui and Anthony, 1975: 346)
'a'ohe       o'u               'ike/lohe  au  iā      ia
NEG.EX  1.SG.POSS see/hear  I    OBJ  3SG
'I can’t see/hear him/her.'

My questions about (4) and (5) above are as follows:
- Is it possible to use 'a'ole instead of ’a’ohe in any of these sentences?
- If yes, is there any kind of difference between the use of 'a'ole instead
of 'a'ohe or is there any known preference for one over the other?

Any pointers to literature or language experts who can help me with
information on this issue will be greatly appreciated. I will post a
summary if there is any interest.

Many thanks in advance and my best wishes,

Elbert, Samuel H., and Pukui, Mary Kawena. 1979. Hawaiian Grammar.
Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. [Reprinted in 2001].

Hawkins, Emily A. 1982. Pedagogical Grammar of Hawaiian. Honolulu:
Hawaiian Studies Program-University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Judd, Henry P. 1978. The Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian-English
Dictionary. Honolulu: Hawaiian Service Inc.

Kahananui, Dorothy M., and Anthony, Alberta P. 1975. E Kama'ilio
Hawai'i Kakou (Let's Speak Hawaiian). Honolulu: The University Press
of Hawaii. [Reprinted in 1975].

Linguistic Field(s): Typology

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