Negation in Tuparí (Tupían; Brazil) is an exclusively nominal category: verbs must enter into a nominalized form to accept the negator -’om and must undergo a subsequent process of reverbalization so as to combine with tense and evidential morphology. These category-changing processes leave -’om in a low position in the clause, and scopal evidence confirms that negation is also interpreted low. In keeping with the low structural position of -’om, the same negative strategy known from finite matrix clauses appears in nonfinite embedded contexts as well.
Tuparí shows that negative phrases exhibit more crosslinguistic variation than standardly assumed: they may appear in either the nominal or verbal extended projection. This finding is not compatible with cartographic efforts to strictly circumscribe the distribution of NegP within the clause. Like nominal tense in Tupi-Guaraní and other languages, in Tuparí a grammatical category normally associated with the verbal domain instead surfaces within the nominal one. For the purpose of typological comparison, the Tuparí facts highlight the need for classifications of negation that take into account both constructional asymmetries between affirmative and negative clauses and individual negator morphemes’ selectional and categorical properties.