The Double Life of Negation in Uyghur

Sugar, Alexander and Chughluk Abdilim. “The Double Life of Negation in Uyghur”. In Öner Özçelik and Amber Kennedy Kent (eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, CeLCAR.

This paper describes the negation system of the Turkic language Uyghur, focusing on environments in which negative concord and double negation arise. Sentential negation takes the form of postverbal suffix -ma, existential negation morpheme yoq, or copular negation morpheme emes. Negative concord arises between negative concord items, all of which are formed with the héch- prefix, and a sentential negation morpheme whose presence is mandatory. Double negation arises when two verbs are negated in the same clause, which we argue can be the case in a multi-verb construction in which the final verb is semantically bleached. To account for the availability of both negative concord and double negation in the language, we propose a modified version of Zeijstra's (2004) negative concord analysis. Negative concord items are merged with uninterpretable negation features that require agreement with an interpretable negation feature. We propose that, rather than being carried by an abstract operator with clausal scope, interpretable negation features are born by negation morphemes. Double negation is the result of interpretable negation features associated with two different predicates canceling each other out to yield a positive meaning.

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