Negation in Màda: An X-bar Perspective

Authors: Samuel, Nuhu Baba & Joy Aworo-Okoroh

Department of Languages and Linguistics, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria.

Published: January 2019

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This paper discusses negation patterns in Màda, a Benue-Congo language spoken in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. It investigates the structure of negative constructions in Màda and how negation is marked in simple declarative sentences and on negative polarity items. Moreover, the aim of this paper is to describe the particles that are used to negate a clause in Màda within the X-bar theoretical model (Chomsky, 1970). Within the X-bar model, negation projects a negative phrase (NegP) which hitherto c-commands the VP and its internal elements. Data for this study were collected using monolingual and introspective method. The study reveals that Màda shows a unique pattern using the discontinuous morpheme la…yo to negate a clause. However, the structure of negation in Màda is S-Neg-TVO-Neg. The first morpheme precedes the V while the second morpheme occurs preferably at the end of a clause. The second negation functions to reinforce negation in Màda. The paper concludes that the discontinuous morphemes also known as templetic morphemes are obligatory, as such function to mark standard negation in Màda.

Keywords: Negation, NegP, X-bar, Negative polarity Item, Màda