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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Query Details

Query Subject:   DP as a Phase, Negation/Intonational Marking
Author:   Bert Remijsen
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   Does anybody know about languages that mark negation by means of intonation? I found no reference to prosodic marking of negation in Dahl's 1997 typology of sentence negation in 'Linguistics'.
On the other hand, I have come across two languages for which it is reported - Lindstrom (2002 - PhD diss Univ. of Stockholm) reports that in the Austronesian language Kuot, a segmental marker of negation is invariably accompanied by an utterance-final fall-rise contour. Secondly, Roemer (1991 'Studies in Papiamentu tonology') describes a combination of tone shift and downstep, which accompanies a segmental negation-marking morpheme in the creole Papiamentu.

Does anybody know of languages in which negation is marked exclusively by means of prosody, i.e., in the absence of a segmental (morphological or syntactic) encoding? Or do you know other languages showing phenomena where the marking of negation has a secundary prosodic component, like Kuot and Papiamentu? I would be grateful for your any replies, and I will post a summary of them to this list.

Dr. Bert Remijsen
Leiden University
LL Issue: 13.2045
Date posted: 06-Aug-2002


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