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  • Negation in Saisiyat:Another Perspective
  • Elizabeth Zeitoun
Abstract

In a recent paper, Mei-li Yeh compares the distribution and function of eight Saisiyat negators and attempts to resolve the following questions: (1) What is the morphosyntactic relationship that 'oka', 'okay, 'okik, 'amkay, and 'amkik bear to one another? (2) Why are certain negators followed by a "ligature" (either 'i or 'ik) and others not? (3) Is it the negator or the ligature that determines the marking of the negated verb as dependent or independent? While the first of these questions is well handled, Yeh is unable to answer the last two questions. Based on my own fieldnotes, I suggest answers, showing that together with 'oka', 'izi', and 'i'ini', both dynamic and stative verbs occur in their [+dependent] form, and demonstrating that while 'i is a ligature, 'ik is not. I also account for the distributional differences between 'oka', 'Ɔizi', and 'i'ini', on the one hand, and kayni' on the other.

1. Introduction.

In a recent paper, Yeh (2000b)1 compares the distribution and function of eight Saisiyat negators ('oka', 'okay, 'okik, 'amkay, 'amkik, 'izi', 'in'ini,2 and kayni') and attempts to resolve the following questions: what is the morphosyntactic relationship that 'oka', 'okay, 'okik, 'amkay, and 'amkik bear to one another?3 Why are certain negators followed by a "ligature"—two different ligatures are identified, the first is 'i (1a) and the second is 'ik (1b)—and others not (1c)?

(1) Based on Yeh (2000b)4

  1. a. yako   'am 'oka' ila 'i   shebet ka  korkoring
    1SG.NOM will  NEG   ASP LIG beat    ACC  child
    'I will not beat the child any longer.'

  2. b. t<in>aw'an      'aehae' ila  tinal'omaeh, 'oka' na   'ik sizaeh5
    build.house<PERF>  one     ASP  year        NEG  still  LIG  finish
    'It has been built for one year, but is (still) not finished.'

  3. c. yako   kayni' Ø   s<om>i'ael ka  'alaw
    1SG.NOM  NEG    Ø   eat<AF>     ACC fish
    'I do not want to eat the fish.'

What is the grammatical status of these ligatures? To what degree do they differ from ligatures occurring in complex sentences (cf. Ø in [2a] and komosha'6 in [2b])?

(2)

  1. a. 'oya'  sh<om>iwa:  ka  kapinaw Ø  sh<om>a'ish ka  kayba:en
    mother agree        ACC lady     Ø  sew<AF>      ACC  clothes
    'Mother agreed that the lady sew the clothes.' (Yeh 1997)

  2. b. sia     ra:am k<om>osha'yako   kama rae'oe: ka  pinobae:h
    3SG.NOM know  COMP       1SG.NOM REL    drink    ACC wine
    'He knows that I drink wine.' (Chang 1997)

What are the factors that determine the marking—as dependent (3a) or independent (3b)—of the negated verb? The negator or the ligature?

(3)

  1. a. 'izi' si'ael/*s<om>i'ael ka   pazay7
    NEG eat/*eat<AF>       ACC  rice
    'Don't eat (the) rice.' (Yeh 2000b)

  2. b. yako   kayni' m-ae'rem/*pae'rem
    1SG.NOM NEG    AF-sleep/*sleep
    'I do not want to sleep.' (Yeh 1991:91)

In my opinion, while the first of these questions is well handled, that is, the morphosyntactic relationship 'oka' and its counterparts bear to one another is correctly identified and accounted for, Yeh (2000b) is unable to answer the last two questions, because linguistic phenomena pertaining to verbal morphology (which are rather transparent in other Formosan languages) have been blurred in Saisiyat. In the present paper, I suggest answers to these questions, and, in so doing, I show the analytic contradictions raised by Yeh's (2000b) analysis.

2. Review of Yeh's (2000) Analysis.

According to Yeh (1991 and subsequent works), focus markers in Saisiyat can be divided into two different sets, as shown in table 1. The first set corresponds to [-dependent] verbs, that is, verbs that [End Page 126] occur in affirmative declarative constructions (4a); the second indicates that the verb is [+ dependent],8 that is, it occurs in imperative (4b) or negative (4c) constructions.


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Table 1.

Focus Markers in Saisiyat(Based on Yeh 1991)

(4)

  1. a. yako    s<om>i'ael ka  pazay
    1SG.NOM  eat<AF>      ACC  rice
    'I ate rice.' (Yeh 1991:34)

  2. b...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 126-134
Launched on MUSE
2001-06-01
Open Access
No
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