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18 Negation

18.1. AFFIRMATIVE VS. NEGATIVE SENTENCES

The sentences of Palauan, like those of every language, can be classified into affirmative and negative types. While an affirmative sentence asserts (or affirms) the occurrence of some action, event, state, condition, etc., a negative sentence denies such occurrence. In other words, a negative sentence makes a statement of the sort ‘someone is not doing something’, ‘such and such is not the case’, ‘X is not Y’, ‘there isn’t/aren’t any Z’, etc. Mostly all Palauan negative sentences contain some form of the negative verb diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’, which we will examine in detail in 18.3 below.

To familiarize ourselves with the idea of negation, let us compare a few affirmative sentences with their negative counter­parts:

(1)   a.   A Toki a mȩnguiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘Toki is reading the book.’
         
    b.   A Toki a diak longuiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’
         
(2)   a.   A ngȩlȩkek a smechȩr.
        ‘My child is sick.’
         
    b.   A ngȩlȩkek a diak lsechȩr.
        ‘My child isn’t sick.’
         
(3)   a.   A Droteo a sensei.
        ‘Droteo is a teacher.’
         
    b.   A Droteo a diak lsensei..
        ‘Droteo isn’t a teacher.’

It is easy to see that the b-sentences above are the denials (or, in a sense, opposites) of the a-sentences. Thus, while la is a transitive sentence which asserts that a particular agent or doer (Toki) is performing a certain activity (reading the book), 1b denies that 363the agent is engaged in that same activity. In a parallel way, 2a is an intransitive sentence in which the subject (ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’) is asserted to be in a particular state (smechȩr ‘sick’), while 2b denies that the subject is in this state. Finally, 3a is an equational sentence (see 18.6 below) which asserts a relationship of equivalen­cy between two noun phrases (Droteo and sensei ‘teacher’), while 3b denies this relationship.

In each of the b-sentences above, the verb or noun directly following the negative verb diak must be prefixed with a hypo­thetical pronoun (cf. 4.10) which agrees in person and number with the agent or doer (if the sentence is transitive, as in 1) or the sub­ject (if the sentence is intransitive or equational, as in 2 and 3). Thus, in 1b and 2b we observe the hypothetical verb forms longuiu and lsechȩr; longuiu is derived by replacing the verb marker mȩ- of the corresponding imperfective transitive verb mȩnguiu ‘read’ with the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefix lo-, and lsechȩr is formed by prefixing the reduced variant l- of the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun (cf. 4.10.4) to sechȩr, which is the stem of the intransitive state verb smechȩr ‘sick’. In 3b, the noun directly following diak—namely, sensei ‘teacher’—also shows the reduced variant l- of the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun. The appear­ance of the hypothetical pronouns after diak in the b-sentences above can be explained in a very straightforward way, as we will see in 18.4 below.

18.2. AFFIRMATIVE VS. NEGATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF EXISTENCE

When a speaker of Palauan wishes to introduce a piece of in­formation into a conversation for the first time, he will often use sentences of the following kind:

(4)   a.   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a oles ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas.
        ‘There’s a knife inside the drawer.’
         
    b.   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a mlik.
        ‘I have a car.’
         
    c.   Ng mla ȩr ngii a ududel a Toki.
        ‘Toki had money.’
         
    d.   Ng mla ȩr ngii a blai ȩr tiang.
        ‘There used to be a house here.’
         
    e.   Ng mla ȩr ngii a ilumȩl ȩr a party.
        ‘There were drinks at the party.’

The sentences above are used when the speaker wants to assert 364the existence of something which he believes represents new information for the hearer. In other words, the italicized noun phrases of 4 introduce the hearer for the first time to (the existence of) the items in question. Thus, if a speaker utters 4a, for example, his hearer is presumably finding out for the first time about the existence of a knife (oles) in the drawer. For this reason, 4a would appear naturally in a dialog such as the following:

(5)   A:   Ngara a ngar ȩr ngii ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas?
        ‘What is there inside the drawer?’
         
    B:   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a oles (ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas).
        ‘There’s a knife (inside the drawer).’

A’s question implies that he does not know what is inside the drawer; therefore, it is obvious that oles ‘knife’ in B’s response constitutes a new piece of information. Because A’s question has already specified the location involved, the parenthesized location­ al phrase ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas ‘inside the drawer’ (cf. 14.2.12) may be omitted in B’s response.

Now, sentence 4a should be distinguished from the following:

(6)   A oles a ngar ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas.
    ‘The knife is inside the drawer.’

While oles ‘knife’ is new information for the hearer in 4a, in 6 this same noun represents old information to which the hearer has already been introduced. In other words, 6 can only be used when the identity of oles ‘knife’ is clear—i.e., when both speaker and hearer know what particular knife they are talking about. For this reason, 6 would be used in a dialog such as the following:

(7)   A:   A oles ng ngar ȩr ker?
        ‘Where is the knife?’
         
    B:   A oles1 a ngar ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas.
        ‘The knife is inside the drawer.’

Since oles in 7B is old information, the new information which this sentence conveys must be represented by the locational phrase ȩr a chȩlsel a skidas ‘inside the drawer’. This is in fact the case, since 7A is a question asking for information about the location of the knife.

Sentences like 4ae, which assert the existence of something or introduce something into a conversation as new information, are called affirmative expressions of existence. Such sentences al­ways 365contain some form of the special sequence ngar ȩr ngii ‘there is/are’. As examples 4ce show, ngar ȩr ngii ‘there is/are’ changes to mlaȩr ngii ‘there was/were’ in the past tense. These sequences are rather difficult to analyze because their meaning cannot be readily explained in terms of their form. They appear to be a combination of the existential verb ngar ‘exist, be (located)’ (past: mla ‘existed, was (located)’2) and the relational phrase ȩr ngii. As we will see below, this relational phrase, which consists of the relational word ȩr followed by the 3rd pers. sg. emphatic pronoun ngii, is probably a kind of locational phrase (cf. 14.2). Therefore, the literal meaning of ngar ȩr ngii and mlaȩr ngii seems to be something like ‘exists in it’ and ‘existed in it’, re­spectively. Because of this difficulty of analysis, it is perhaps better to think of ngar ȩr ngii and mlaȩr ngii as single, indivisible units with the meaning ‘there is/are’ or ‘there was/were’.3 A similar problem is observed for the future tense form of ngar ȩr ngii ‘there is/are’, which is moȩr ngii ‘there will be’. Though best dealt with as a single unit, this sequence most likely consists of the future tense auxiliary mo ‘go’ and the relational phrase ȩr ngii.

The state verb ngar which is found in the sequences ngar ȩr ngii and mlaȩr ngii is normally used as an existential verb which denotes the existence of someone or something in a particular location. As in 6 above, the existential verb ngar ‘exist, be (located)’ always occurs in sentences followed by a locational phrase, which simply tells us where someone or something is. This locational phrase has been italicized in the examples below:

(8)   a.   A mlik a ngar ȩr a mȩdal a blai.
        ‘My car is in front of the house.’
         
    b.   A Ngchesar a ngar ȩr a Babȩldaob.
        ‘Ngchesar is located on Babeldaob.’
         
    c.   A Helen a mla ȩr a bitang.
        ‘Helen was next door.’

Because ngar is always followed by a locational phrase,4 we tentatively proposed above that the relational phrase in ngar ȩr ngii and mla ȩr ngii is of the locational type. The existential verb ngar is unusual in that it has the irregular past tense form mla ‘existed, was (located)’. This form is probably closely related to the auxiliary word mla, which is used to denote recent past time or past experience (cf. 5.3.2.1).

The following sentences are additional examples of affir­mative expressions of existence: 366

(9)   a.   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a {hong ȩr ngak/uldȩsuek}.
        ‘I have {a book/an idea}.’
         
    b.   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a kȩrim?
        ‘Do you have a question?’
         
    c.   Ng mo ȩr ngii a ochȩraol ȩr a klukuk.
        ‘There will be a money-raising party tomorrow.’
         
    d.   Ng mo ȩr ngii a sukal ȩr a imȩlem?
        ‘Will you take sugar in your drink?’
         
    e.   Ng mochu ȩr ngii a chull.
        ‘It’s about to rain.’
         
    f.   Ng mla ȩr ngii a temel a Toki ȩl mo ȩr a party.
        ‘Toki had time to go to the party.’

In 9e, mochu is the predictive form of mo ‘go’ (cf. 11.12.5). There­fore, the sequence mochu ȩr ngii means something like ‘there is about to be’.

As we might expect, all of the affirmative expressions of existence discussed above can be transformed into negative ex­pressions of existence by using some form of the negative verb diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’. Like their affirmative counterparts, negative expressions of existence introduce something into a conversation as new information, but at the same time they deny the existence of this particular thing. In the list below, we give the negative expressions of existence which correspond to some of the sentences of 4 and 9 above:

(4b’)   Ng diak a mlik.
    ‘I don’t have a car.’
     
(4c’)   Ng dimlak a ududel a Toki.
    ‘Toki didn’t have any money.’
     
(4d’)   Ng dimlak a blai ȩr tiang.
    ‘There wasn’t any house here.’
     
(4e’)   Ng dimlak a ilumȩl ȩr a party.
    ‘There weren’t any drinks at the party.’
     
(9b’)   Ng diak a kȩrim?
    ‘Don’t you have any questions?’
     
(9f’)   Ng dimlak a temel a Toki ȩl mo ȩr a party.
    ‘Toki didn’t have any time to go to the party.’

As examples 4c’, 4d’, 4e’, and 9f’ show, the past tense form of 367the negative verb diak is dimlak ‘wasn’t, didn’t exist’. Before analyzing dimlak and other related forms of the negative verb, we will first concern ourselves with the grammatical structure of the various affirmative and negative expressions of existence observed in this section.

18.2.1. Subject Shifting in Affirmative and Negative Expressions of Existence

All of the affirmative and negative expressions of existence pre­sented in 18.2 above are identical in over-all structure: first, all of these sentences begin with the 3rd pers. sg. nonemphatic pronoun ng; second, this ng is immediately followed by verb phrases con­taining ngar (ȩr ngii) or diak; and finally, the subject of the sen­tence—namely, the thing whose existence is being asserted or denied—appears directly after the verb phrase. These are precisely the three major features which identify sentences that have been derived by the process of subject shifting (cf. 17.2). Thus, we pro­pose that all affirmative and negative expressions of existence are derived by subject shifting from source sentences of the form

(10)   subject noun phrase   +   {ngar ȩr ngii/diak}

Therefore, sentences 4b, 4c, 4b’, and 9f’ would be derived accord­ing to the following scheme:

(11)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    a.   A mlik a ngar ȩr ngii.     Ng ngar ȩr ngii a mlik.
                 
    b.   A ududel a Toki a mla ȩr ngii.     Ng mla ȩr ngii a ududel a Toki.
                ‘Toki had money.’
                 
    c.   A mlik a diak.     Ng diak a mlik.
                ‘I don’t have a car.’
                 
        A temel a Toki ȩl moȩr a party a dimlak.     Ng dimlak a temel a Toki ȩl moȩr a party.
                ‘Toki didn’t have any time to go to the party.’

When the italicized (3rd person) subjects are moved to the right of the verb phrase by the subject shifting rule, the pronominal trace ng appears in their place. Because the source sentences of 11 are not acceptable (or, at best, very awkward) to Palauan speakers, we conclude that application of the subject shifting 368rule is obligatory: in other words, the source sentences of 11 must be transformed into the resulting sentences of 11 in order to become acceptable utterances of Palauan.5

The resulting sentences of 11b and 11d can be further trans­formed by the preposing of possessor rule (cf. 17.3). Thus, the possessor Toki of both examples, which was moved to the right of the verb phrase as part of the shifted subjects ududel a Toki ‘Toki’s money’ and temel a Toki ȩl moȩr a party ‘Toki’s time to go to the party’, can be preposed to sentence-initial position, where it replaces the pronominal trace ng. We therefore get the following sentences, which are identical in meaning:

(12)   a.   A Toki a mla ȩr ngii a ududel.
        ‘Toki had money.’
         
    b.   A Toki a dimlak a temel ȩl mo ȩr a party.
        ‘Toki didn’t have any time to go to the party.’

Unless we accept the validity of the subject shifting and preposing of possessor rules, we have no reasonable way of accounting for the order of words observed in sentences like 12a-b.

In our discussion above, we implied that any source sen­tence of the form subject noun phrase + diak must undergo obligatory application of the subject shifting rule. One notable exception to this claim is found among sentences containing mo + diak, in which the auxiliary mo designates a change of state (cf. 13.5). Observe the following examples, in which the source sentences and resulting sentences have the same meaning:

(13)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    a.   A ududek a mla mo diak.     Ng mla mo diak a ududek.
                ‘My money has run out.’
                 
    b.   A chull a mla mo diak.     Ng mla mo diak a chull.
                ‘The rain has stopped.’
                 
    c.   A urerel a rubak a mlo diak.     Ng mlo diak a urerel a rubak.6
                ‘The old man lost his job.’

The sentences of 13 describe changes of state in which the italicized subject noun phrases ududek ‘my money’, chull ‘rain’, and urerel ‘his work’ became non-existent—i.e., stopped, disappeared, became used up, etc. Thus, in spite of their English equivalents, these examples really mean something like ‘My money has be­come non-existent’, ‘The rain has become non-existent’, and ‘The old man’s work became non-existent’. 369

Interestingly enough, the source sentences of 13 are perfectly acceptable to Palauan speakers, and therefore we must conclude that the subject shifting rule is only optional in cases like this. It is not very clear why subject shifting should be optional in 13 but obligatory in 11. However, we can speculate that subject shifting is obligatory only with affirmative and negative expres­sions of existence, as in 11. Therefore, one possible reason why this rule is not obligatory in 13 would be that the sentences of 13 somehow do not qualify as negative expressions of existence. Now, recall that negative expressions of existence introduce something into a conversation as new information and at the same time deny its existence. The sentences of 13, however, do not do this since in order to say that something has become non-existent (has run out, disappeared, etc.), it is necessary to assume that this very same thing existed in the first place. Therefore, the itali­cized subjects of 13 do not introduce new information, but des­ignate things which were already presumed to be part of the hearer’s knowledge. Instead, the new information in the sentences of 13 is actually conveyed by the change of state expressions themselves. Thus, in 13a, for example, the fact that the speaker has money (ududek) is not new information, but the fact that his money ran out (mla mo diak) is. In this way, then, the sentences of 13 probably do not qualify as negative expressions of existence, and therefore the subject shifting rule need not apply to them obligatorily.

18.3. THE NEGATIVE VERB diak

Now that we have seen how the negative verb diak is used in negative expressions of existence, let us examine the various forms which it can take. The negative verb diak is best classified as an intransitive state verb. Because it is a state verb, it can be used together with the auxiliary mo ‘go’ to denote a change of state, as we saw at the end of the preceding section.

The past tense form of diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’ is dimlak ‘wasn’t, didn’t exist’. At first glance, the form dimlak seems very difficult to explain, since it appears to contain an unusual infixed variant of the past tense marker—namely, -ml-. But if we assume that diak is a state verb, at least some of the apparent irregularity is resolved. Now, since diak is a state verb, we would expect that its past tense would be formed like that of all other state verbs—i.e., by using the auxiliary mle ‘was, were’ (cf. 5.1.3). Thus, we 370would expect the past of diak to be mle diak. Even though mle diak does not occur, it nevertheless seems to be a plausible source for dimlak: here, a special type of metathesis (cf. 6.2) takes place in which the whole word mle exchanges positions with the first syllable di of diak. The resulting sequence is di-mle-ak, which then becomes dimlak after deletion of the e. This appears to be the only possible way of accounting for the mysterious -ml- in dimlak.

There is further evidence that the negative verb diak combines with other words (or morphemes) in strange ways. Thus, we also observe the negative word dirkak ‘not yet, not ever’, which is used to express the fact that some action or event has so far not taken place. The following pair of sentences gives us a clue about the structure of dirkak:

(14)   a.   Ak dirk mȩnguiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘I’m still reading the book.’
         
    b.   Ng dirkak kunguiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘I haven’t read the book yet.’

In 14a, the qualifying word dirk ‘still’ (see 24.6) affirms that the subject (ak ‘I’) has been reading the book over some period of time and is continuing to read it at the present moment. In 14b, however, dirkak denies that the subject has ever read the book (and of course implies that he is not reading it now). In other words, dirkak describes a kind of state characterized by the fact that the subject has still not gotten around to reading the book. When viewed this way, 14b seems to be a denial (or opposite) of 14a and as such should contain the negative verb diak. We pro­pose that 14b indeed does contain diak, but as part of the word dirkak. In other words, the source of dirkak in 14b seems to be the sequence dirk + diak, which phonetically becomes dirkak by deletion of the second occurrence of the syllable di. Notice that the negative verb dirkak ‘not yet, not ever’ in 14b is followed by the hypothetical verb form kunguiu, in which the 1st pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefix ku- (corresponding to the agent—i.e., the person reading the book) has replaced the verb marker mȩ- of imperfective mȩnguiu ‘read’.

We should distinguish carefully between the meanings of dimlak ‘wasn’t, didn’t exist’ and dirkak ‘not yet, not ever’, which are contrasted in the pairs of sentences below:

(15)   a.   Ng dimlak kbo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘I didn’t go to Guam.’ 371
         
    b.   Ng dirkak kbo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘I haven’t ever gone to Guam.’
         
(16)   a.   A Toki a dimlak loruul a kall ȩr a Sina.
        ‘Toki didn’t make Chinese food.’
         
    b.   A Toki a dirkak loruul a kall ȩr a Sina.
        ‘Toki hasn’t ever made Chinese food.’

In the a-sentences above, use of dimlak—the past tense form of diak—refers to something which did not happen on a single, specific occasion. By contrast, use of dirkak in the b-sentences implies that something failed to take place repeatedly or on many occasions. For this reason, the b-sentences are interpreted to mean that someone has never had the experience of doing something. Therefore, sentences like 15b and 16b are common answers to questions about past experience, which contain the auxiliary mla (cf. 5.3.2.1). Note the following dialogs:

(17)   A:   Kȩ mla mo ȩr a Guam?
        ‘Have you ever gone to Guam?’
         
    B:   Ng diak. Ng dirkak kbong.
        ‘No, I haven’t.’
         
(18)   A:   A Toki ng mla mȩruul a kall ȩr a Sina?
        ‘Has Toki ever made Chinese food?’
         
    B:   Ng diak. Ng dirkak loruul.
        ‘No, she hasn’t.’

As in 14b, the negative verb dirkak can also refer to some event which as of the present moment has not yet occurred. In such cases, dirkak corresponds to ‘not yet’, as in the sentences below:

(19)   a.   A ngalȩk a dirkak lȩbo lȩmȩchiuaiu.
        ‘The child hasn’t gone to sleep yet.’
         
    b.   Ng dirkak kbo kmȩrek ȩr a subȩlek.
        ‘I haven’t finished my homework yet.’

As we will see in 19.1.3, the negative verb diak can itself have a hypothetical form—namely, lak. This form, too, exhibits the unusual phonetic nature of diak, since we have every reason to believe that lak has its source in + diak, which consists of the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun lȩ- followed by the negative verb. In deriving lak, we delete the first syllable di of diak. A similar deletion is observed in the past tense hypothetical form lȩmlak, which is clearly derived from + dimlak. 372

18.4. HYPOTHETICAL VERB FORMS FOLLOWING diak

At the beginning of 18.1 above, we observed negative sentences like the following (= 1b and 2b):

(20)   a.   A Toki a diak longuiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’
         
    b.   A ngȩlȩkek a diak lsechȩr.
        ‘My child isn’t sick.’

As mentioned in 18.1, the negative verb diak is followed by hypothetical verb forms in the examples of 20. In the transitive sentence 20a, the lo- of longuiu refers to the doer or agent (Toki), and in the intransitive sentence 20b, the l- of lsechȩr refers to the subject (ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’). Now, with 20ab compare the following sentences, in which the doer or subject corresponds to the speaker:

(21)   a.   Ng diak kunguiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘I’m not reading the book.’
         
    b.   Ng diak ksechȩr.
        ‘I’m not sick.’

The hypothetical verb forms of 21 have 1st pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefixes, while those of 20 have 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefixes. In addition, the examples of 20 show the speci­fic noun phrases Toki and ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’ in sentence-initial position.

The structure of the negative sentences in 2021 can be easily explained in terms of the subject shifting rule and two rules which are peculiar to sentences containing diak. In 18.2.1 above we saw that sentences which constitute negative expressions of existence are derived simply by applying the subject shifting rule (obliga­torily) to source sentences of the form subject noun phrase + diak. We propose that the negative sentences of 2021 are derived in exactly the same way, except that in their source sentences the subject noun phrase is actually a bracketed sentence. Our method of analysis here is identical to that used in 17.7, where we proposed that the possessed nouns soal ‘his liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’ can occur in two types of source sentences—namely, subject noun phrase + soal/chȩtil or [sentence] + soal/chȩtil. Recall that when the subject of soal or chȩtil is a bracketed sentence, subject shifting results in a dependent clause construction, as in the following derivation: 373

(22) Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
           
  [Ak mȩlim a biang] a soak.     Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
          ‘I want to drink some beer.’

Let us first analyze the sentences of 21, which we propose have the following source sentences:

(23)   a.   [Ak mȩnguiu ȩr a hong] a diak.
        (‘I’m not reading the book.’)
         
    b.   [Ak smechȩr] a diak.
        (‘I’m not sick.’)

In the source sentences of 23, the negative verb diak is preceded by a subject noun phrase consisting of a complete bracketed sen­tence; the bracketed sentence names an action or state whose occurrence is being denied. The subject shifting rule applies obligatorily to 23a-b, giving the following structures:

(24)   a.   Ng diak [ak mȩnguiu ȩr a hong].
        (‘I’m not reading the book.’)
         
    b.   Ng diak [ak smechȩr].
        (‘I’m not sick.’)

When the bracketed sentence is moved to the right of the verb phrase by the subject shifting rule, the pronominal trace ng automatically appears in its place in sentence-initial position. Now in order to transform 24ab into the actually-spoken sentences 21ab, we need to apply a rule which derives the correct hypo­ thetical verb forms in the shifted bracketed sentences. This rule involves transforming the non-emphatic pronoun ak ‘I’ (the agent or subject of the bracketed sentence) into the corresponding hypothetical pronoun ku- or k-, and prefixing it to the directly following verb, thereby deriving a hypothetical verb form. As part of this process, the verb following ak changes, too (cf. 6.2.1): thus, in 24a the verb marker mȩ- of imperfective mȩnguiu is lost and replaced by ku-, and in 24b the metathesized verb marker -m-of the state verb smechȩr is lost when k- is prefixed. As a result of these changes, the structures of 24ab are transformed into the acceptable sentences of 21ab.

The appearance of hypothetical verb forms in the shifted bracketed sentences following diak can be easily understood if we consider that these forms are used in a large variety of gram­matical constructions to express hypothetical events or situations—i.e., ones which do not really occur but which are supposed, assumed, imagined, wished for, etc. Because the negative verb 374diak denies the occurrence of something, any event or situation described in a sentence with diak would be unreal in the sense that it did not occur. For this reason, the appearance of hypothetical verb forms after diak seems rather natural and “logical”.

Now let us return to the negative sentences of 20ab, in which a specific noun phrase (Toki in 20a and ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’ in 20b) is found in sentence-initial position. We propose that the source sentences for 20ab are as follows:

(25)   a.   [A Toki a mȩnguiu ȩr a hong] a diak.
        (‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’)
         
    b.   [A ngȩlȩkek a smechȩr] a diak.
        (‘My child isn’t sick.’)

Applying the subject shifting rule to 25ab, we get the following structures:

(26)   a.   Ng diak [a Toki a mȩnguiu ȩr a hong].
        (‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’)
         
    b.   Ng diak [a ngȩlȩkek a smechȩr].
        (‘My child isn’t sick.’)

Because the shifted bracketed sentences of 26ab contain a specific 3rd pers. agent (Toki in 26a) or subject (ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’ in 26b), they must be transformed by a special rule which is based on the principle that the specific 3rd pers. agent or subject cannot remain in the initial position of the bracketed sentence. In other words, the noun phrases Toki and ngȩlȩkek must be either shifted to sentence-final position or preposed to sentence-initial position. At the same time, the verb form of the bracketed shifted sentence must become hypothetical; the resulting hypothetical verb form takes the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefixes lo- or l-, which agree with the agent or subject of the bracketed sentence.

If the specific 3rd pers. agent or subject is shifted to sentence-final position, 26ab will be transformed into the following sentences:

(27)   a.   Ng diak longuiu ȩr a hong a Toki.
        ‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’
         
    b.   Ng diak lsechȩr a ngȩlȩkek.
        ‘My child isn’t sick.’

Though grammatical, examples 27ab are used less frequently than 20ab above, in which the specific 3rd pers. agent or subject has been preposed to sentence-initial position, where it replaces 375the pronominal trace ng. These examples are repeated as 28ab below:

(28)   a.   A Toki a diak longuiu ȩr a hong.
        ‘Toki isn’t reading the book.’
         
    b.   A ngȩlȩkek a diak lsechȩr.
        ‘My child isn’t sick.’

18.5. FURTHER EXAMPLES OF NEGATIVE SENTENCES

In the negative sentences of 20 and 21 above, we observed two different types of hypothetical verb forms following diak. Thus, in 20a and 21a longuiu and kunguiu are hypothetical forms of the imperfective (transitive) verb mȩnguiu ‘read’, while in 20b and 21b, lsechȩr and ksechȩr are hypothetical forms of the (intransitive) state verb smechȩr ‘sick’. Before looking at negative sentences containing other types of hypothetical verb forms, let us examine some further sentences containing the two types we have just mentioned:

(29)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of imperfective (transitive) verbs:
         
    a.   A Droteo a dimlak lolim a biang.
        ‘Droteo didn’t drink any beer.’
         
    b.   Ng diak molamȩch a dȩkool?
        ‘Don’t you smoke cigarettes?’
         
    c.   Ng dirkak kimoruul a kall ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘We’ve never made Japanese food.’
         
    d.   A rȩsȩchȩlik a dimlak longiis ȩr a kliokl.
        ‘My friends didn’t dig the hole.’
         
(30)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of (intransitive) state verbs:
     
    a.   A Toki a diak lsȩngȩrengȩr.7
        ‘Toki isn’t hungry.’
         
    b.   A mlid a diak lȩklou.
        ‘Our car isn’t that big/big enough.’
         
    c.   A mubi a dimlak lȩmȩkngit.8
        ‘The movie wasn’t bad.’
         
    d.   Ng dimlak lȩmȩched a chei.
        ‘The tide wasn’t low.’

In the examples above, the tense of the whole sentence is de­termined by the form of the negative verb (diak vs. dimlak vs. dirkak). Therefore, the hypothetical verb form directly following 376diak always appears in the present tense, even though the whole sentence may refer to past time (as in 29a, 29cd, and 30cd).

Since nearly all types of verbs can have hypothetical forms, Palauan negative sentences are by no means confined to the ones listed in 2930 above. Thus, in the groups of examples below, we observe diak followed by further types of hypothetical verb forms:

(31)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of intransitive action verbs (including directional verbs9):
         
    a.   A rȩngalȩk a diak loilil ȩr a sers.
        ‘The children aren’t playing in the garden.’
         
    b.   Ngara mȩ ng dimlak mlangȩl?
        ‘Why didn’t you cry?’
         
    c.   Ng diak chome ȩr a party?
        ‘Aren’t you coming to the party?’
         
    d.   Ng dimlak kbo ȩr a skuul er a elii.
        ‘I didn’t go to school yesterday.’
         
    e.   Ng dirkak kibo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘We’ve never gone to Guam.’
(32)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of perfective (transitive) verbs10:
         
    a.   Ng dimlak kbosii a babii.
        ‘I didn’t shoot the pig.’
         
    b.   A Tony a dimlak lȩngȩsuir a Satsko ȩl mȩngȩtmokl ȩr a blai.
        ‘Tony didn’t help Satsko clean the house.’
         
    c.   A Droteo a dimlak lleng a hong.
        ‘Droteo didn’t borrow the books.’
         
    d.   Ng dimlak kkȩrir a sensei ȩr a teng ȩr ngak.
        ‘I didn’t ask the teacher about my grade.’
(33)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of the existential state verb ngar:
         
    a.   A ngȩlȩkem a diak lȩngar ȩr a skuul.
        ‘Your child isn’t at school.’
         
    b.   A sensei a dimlak lȩngar ȩr tiang.
        ‘The teacher wasn’t here.’
(34)   diak followed by hypothetical forms of ergative verbs11:
         
    a.   A kall a dirkak lȩmȩruul.
        ‘The food hasn’t been made yet.’
         
    b.   A biang a dimlak lȩmȩngim.
        ‘The beer wasn’t drunk up.’ 377
(35) diak followed by hypothetical forms of complex verb phrases12:
     
  a. A Toki a dirkak lȩbo lȩmȩrek ȩr a urerel.
    ‘Toki hasn’t finished her work yet.’
     
  b. A ngȩlȩkek a diak lȩbo lungil ȩl smechȩr.
    ‘My child isn’t getting any better.’
     
  c. Ng diak kbo kuruul a kall.
    ‘I’m not going to make the food.’
     
  d. Ngara mȩ ng dimlak chobo mrei?
    ‘Why didn’t you go home?’

18.6. EQUATIONAL SENTENCES: AFFIRMATIVE AND NEGATIVE

The structure of Palauan equational sentences is relatively simple because they merely consist of a subject noun phrase followed by another noun phrase. The term equational sentence is used because the two noun phrases involved are always understood as being equal or equivalent to each other. In other words, if the two noun phrases in an equational sentence are A and B, the equational sentence simply asserts that “A is B”: the subject noun phrase is equated with or included in the category of individuals or things designated by the second noun phrase. Observe the following equational sentences in the present tense:

(36)   a.   Ak ngalȩk ȩr a skuul.
        ‘I’m a student.’
         
    b.   Kȩdȩ chad ȩr a omȩnged.
        ‘We’re fishermen.’
         
    c.   A dȩmak a sensei.
        ‘My father’s a teacher.’
         
    d.   Tia a mlil a Toki.
        ‘This is Toki’s car.’
         
    e.   Tilȩcha a blai.
        ‘That’s a house.’
         
    f.   Ng mlik.
        ‘It’s my car.’

In order to derive sentences which deny that “A is B”, we simply apply the rules of subject shifting and preposing (cf. 18.4) to source sentences of the form [equational sentence] + diak. Thus, in deriving the negative counterpart of 36a, we begin with the following source sentence:

(37)   [Ak ngalȩk ȩr a skuul] a diak.
    (‘I’m not a student.’) 378

The subject shifting rule applies to the whole bracketed sentence, which is moved to the right of diak to give

(38)   Ng diak [ak ngalȩk ȩr a skuul].
    (‘I’m not a student.’)

To obtain a grammatical sentence, the subject ak ‘I’ of the shifted bracketed sentence must be changed into a hypothetical pronoun and prefixed to the following noun phrase. Thus, we have

(39)   Ng diak kngalȩk ȩr a skuul.
    ‘I’m not a student.’

If the subject of the shifted equational sentence is a specific third person noun phrase, then it cannot remain in the initial position of the equational sentence (cf. the discussion following 26ab above). For example, when the source sentence for the negative counterpart of 36c—namely,

(40)   [A demak a sensei] a diak.
    (‘My father’s not a teacher.’)

undergoes the subject shifting rule, we get the following struc­ture:

(41)   Ng diak [a dȩmak a sensei].
    (‘My father’s not a teacher.’)

Now, the subject of the shifted bracketed sentence—dȩmak ‘my father’—must either be moved to sentence-final position or pre­posed to sentence-initial position. Applying one or the other of these processes yields the following two grammatical sentences:

(42)   a.   Ng diak lsensei a dȩmak.
        ‘My father isn’t a teacher.’
         
    b.   A dȩmak a diak lsensei.
        ‘My father isn’t a teacher.’

Most speakers prefer to use 42b, in which the noun phrase dȩmak ‘my father’ has been preposed.

The negative counterparts of the other examples of 36 are derived according to the analysis presented above. Note, there­fore, the following sentences:

(43)   a.   Ng diak dȩchad ȩr a omȩnged.
        ‘We’re not fishermen.’
         
    b.   Tia a diak lȩmlil a Toki.
        ‘This isn’t Toki’s car.’
         
    c.   Tilȩcha a diak lȩblai.
        ‘That’s not a house.’ 379
         
    d.   Ng diak lȩmlik.
        ‘It’s not my car.’

Notice that the negative equational sentence 43d is different in meaning and structure from the negative expression of existence 4b’, which we repeat here for convenience:

(44)   Ng diak a mlik.
    ‘I don’t have a car.’

While 44 has a source sentence of the following form (cf. 11c),

(45)   A mlik a diak.
    (‘I don’t have a car.’)

the source sentence for 43d is different—namely,

(46)   [Ng mlik] a diak.
    (‘It’s not my car.’)

Equational sentences in the past tense use mle ‘was, were’ between the two noun phrases, while those in the future tense use the auxiliary mo. The auxiliary mo can also designate a change of state in equational sentences. Several examples are given below:

(47)   a.   A John a mle sensei.
        ‘John was a teacher.’
         
    b.   Ak mo toktang.
        ‘I’m going to be a doctor.’
         
    c.   A Toki a mlo chad ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘Toki became an American citizen.’

The negative counterparts of 47ac are as follows:

(48)   a.   A John a dimlak lsensei.
        ‘John wasn’t a teacher.’
         
    b.   Ng diak kbo ktoktang.
        ‘I’m not going to be a doctor.’
         
    c.   A Toki a dimlak lȩbo lȩchad ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘Toki didn’t become an American citizen.’

Notice that in 48bc, a hypothetical pronoun is prefixed both to the auxiliary mo and to the noun phrase directly following it.

18.7. THE NEGATIVE EXPRESSION di kea

The negative expression di kea, which probably consists of the word di ‘only, just’ followed by kea, corresponds to the English 380expression ‘no longer’. In other words, di kea implies that some­thing which was once the case is no longer the case. The following sentences with di kea are presented without explanation, since their derivation parallels that of the various negative sentences analyzed in 18.2.1 and 18.6 above:

(49)   a.   A Toki a di kea {lȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul/lȩkatungek}.
        ‘Toki is no longer {a student/my girlfriend}.’
         
    b.   A John a di kea lȩchad ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘John is no longer an American citizen.’
         
    c.   A blik a di kea lȩngar ȩr sei.
        ‘My house is no longer located there.’
         
    d.   Ng di kea a techȩllek ȩl mo ȩr a skuul.
        ‘I no longer have the opportunity to go to school.’
         
    e.   Ng di kea a ngikȩl.
        ‘There’s no more fish.’
         
    f.   Ng di kea kureor ȩr a bangk.
        ‘I’m no longer working at the bank.’

The negative expression di kea can also express the idea that some expected event failed to take place. In this usage, di kea corre­sponds to English ‘not… after all’, as in the examples below:

(50)   a.   Ng di kea kbo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘(It turns out that) I’m not going to Guam after all.”
         
    b.   Ng di kea kbo kureor ȩr a skuul.
        ‘(It turns out that) I’m not going to work at the school after all.’
         
    c.   A Droteo a di mle kea lȩbo ȩr a mubi.
        ‘(It turned out that) Droteo didn’t go to the movies after all.’

As example 50c shows, di kea becomes di mle kea in the past tense. The addition of mle seems to indicate that kea functions as a state verb, but this still does not give us any clues about the (ori­ginal or current) meaning of kea.13

18.8. NEGATIVE VERBS AS ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

The Palauan negative verbs diak, dimlak, and dirkak are com­monly used together with the 3rd pers. sg. non-emphatic pronoun ng as answers to questions. This phenomenon is observed in the dialogs below: 381

(51)   A:   A Droteo ng mȩsuub a tȩkoi ȩr a Merikel?
        ‘Is Droteo studying English?’
         
    B:   Ng diak.
        ‘No. (He’s not).’
         
(52)   A:   Kȩ mlo ȩr a party ȩr a kȩsus?
        ‘Did you go to the party last night?’
         
    B:   Ng dimlak.
        ‘No. (I didn’t).’
         
(53)   A:   Ng ngar ȩr ngii a kȩrim?
        ‘Do you have any questions?’
         
    B:   Ng diak.
        ‘No. (I don’t).’
         
(54)   A:   Kȩ mla mȩnga a kall ȩr a Firiping?
        ‘Have you ever eaten Filipino food?’
         
    B:   Ng dirkak.
        ‘No. (I haven’t).’

The negative responses given by B in the dialogs above appear to be short sentences which mean something like ‘it isn’t the case’ (for ng diak), ‘it wasn’t the case’ (for ng dimlak), and ‘it hasn’t (yet) been the case’ (for ng dirkak). They contrast, of course, with the word chochoi ‘yes’, which is used as an affirmative re­sponse.

Questions containing the negative verb diak are difficult to analyze because they can be interpreted in at least two different ways. Often, diak is simply used to add a degree of politeness to questions which function as offers or invitations, as in the ex­amples below:

(55)   a.   Ng diak monga a bobai?
        ‘Won’t you eat some papaya?’
         
    b.   Ng diak chome ȩr a blik?
        ‘Won’t you come to my house?’

Just like their English equivalents, the Palauan negative questions above are merely polite (or indirect) substitutes for the blunter questions ‘Will you eat some papaya?’ and ‘Will you come to my house?’ Because the examples of 55 are therefore equivalent in meaning to affirmative questions, speakers would respond to them as if they indeed were affirmative questions. Thus, 55a, for instance, might occur in dialogs like the following:

(56)   A:   Ng diak monga a bobai?
        ‘Won’t you eat some papaya?’ =
        ‘Will you eat some papaya?’ 382
         
    B:   Chochoi.
        ‘Yes, I will.’
         
(57)   A:   Ng diak monga a bobai?
        ‘Won’t you eat some papaya?’ =
        ‘Will you eat some papaya?’
         
    B:   Ng diak. Ng chȩtik
        ‘No (thanks). I don’t like it.’

Now, it is also possible for an example like 55a to be inter­preted as a general question rather than as an offer or an invita­tion. Under such circumstances, A is really asking B a question of the form ‘Is it the case that you don’t eat papayas?’ Because this question is interpreted in this way, B’s responses to it are different in meaning from those observed in 567 above, as the following dialogs illustrate:

(58)   A:   Ng diak monga a bobai?
        ‘Don’t you eat papayas?’ =
        ‘Is it the case that you don’t eat papayas?’
         
    B:   Chochoi. (Ng diak kungang.)
        ‘No, I don’t. (I don’t eat them.)’
         
(59)   A:   Ng diak monga a bobai?
        ‘Don’t you eat papayas?’ =
        ‘Is it the case that you don’t eat papayas?’
         
    B:   Ng diak. (Ak mȩnga ȩr a bebil ȩr a taem.)
        ‘Yes, I do. (I eat them from time to time.)’

If we think of A’s question as really meaning ‘Is it the case that you don’t eat papayas?’, as mentioned above, we can easily explain how B’s responses are interpreted. Thus, when B answers chochoi in 58, he actually means ‘Yes, it is the case that I don’t eat papayas’. Similarly, B’s use of ng diak in 59 corresponds to ‘No, it is not the case that I don’t eat papayas—i.e., I do eat them’. As the English equivalents show, the way of answering such nega­tive questions in English is quite different.

Notes

    A rubak a dirk ngar.   ‘The old man is still alive.’
    Ng soal a biang.   ‘He likes beer.’
  Ng chȩtik a rrom.   ‘I dislike liquor.’
   A rubak a mlo diak a urerel. ‘The old man lost his job.’

    mȩ + sȩngȩréngȩr   (basic form=verb marker+verb stem)→
  s + mȩ + ȩngȩréngȩr   (by metathesis of verb marker) →
  s + m + ȩngȩréngȩr   (by deletion of ȩ)→
  s + u + ȩngȩréngȩr   (by change of verb marker to u in un­stressed syllable) →
  songȩréngȩr   (by vowel blending)

The step-by-step derivation above exactly parallels that for certain 3rd pers.sg.obj.present perfective forms (cf. 6.3.2, especially ex. 23).

1. In the most natural dialog, this occurrence of oles would be prono­minalized to ng ‘it’ (cf. 4.8).

2. Though mla is used as the past tense of ngar, it is not really clear whether these words are related to each other.

3. Indeed, the widespread practice of spelling these sequences as single 516words—ngarngii and mlarngii—shows that most Palauans “feel” them to be indivisible units. The spelling used in this text, which was also approved by the 1972 Palau Orthography Committee, is based on the assumption that ngar ȩr ngii and mla ȩr ngii each consist of three words which are otherwise always spelled separately. The same discussion applies to mo ȩr ngii ‘there will be’ and mochu ȩr ngii ‘there is about to be’, which have been spelled as morngii and mo­churngii.

4. The only situation in which ngar need not be followed by a locational phrase is illustrated in the sentence below, where this word occurs in the related meaning ‘alive’:

5. Recall that subject shifting must also be applied obligatorily in certain other types of sentences. Thus, in 17.2, we proposed that obligatory subject shifting is the only plausible way to account for sentences containing the special possessed nouns soal ‘his liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’—e.g.,

6. This sentence can be further transformed by the preposing of pos­sessor rule to give

7. As we saw in 6.2.1, hypothetical verb forms normally lack the verb marker. Thus, if we compare hypothetical lsȩngȩrengȩr with its non-hypothetical counterpart songȩrengȩr ‘hungry’, we conclude that the -o- in the latter form is due to presence of the verb marker. We there­fore assume that songȩrengȩr is derived in the following way:

8. Though the verb marker is absent in most hypothetical verb forms (cf. 6.2.1), a notable exception is found among intransitive state verbs which have the prefixed verb marker mȩ- in their pronounced forms. Thus, in the hypothetical forms of mȩkngit ‘bad’, mȩched ‘shallow’, etc., mȩ- is not deleted, and we get lȩmȩkngit and lȩmȩched.

9. For a complete listing and discussion of the hypothetical forms of the directional verbs mo ‘go’ and me ‘come’, see 4.10.

10. Recall (cf. 6.7) that the basic structure of hypothetical perfective forms is hypothetical pronoun + verb stem + object pronoun.

11. Since ergative verbs (cf. 5.4) simply consist of the sequence verb marker + verb stem, their hypothetical forms have the structure hypothetical pronoun + verb marker + verb stem. Note that while most hypothetical verb forms lack the verb marker, the hypothetical forms of ergative verbs retain it (cf. 6.2.1).

12. As we saw in 4.10.6, complex verb phrases include sequences like 517mo mȩruul ‘will make’, me mȩngȩtmokl ‘come and clean’, mo mȩrek ‘finish’, mo/me rȩme ‘come/go back’, mo ungil ‘get better’, etc. In the hypothetical forms of such expressions a hypothetical pronoun is often prefixed to each of the parts.

13. We can also speculate that di kea might contain a contracted form of diak followed by e ‘and (then)’. Under this approach, suggested to me by Robert Gibson (personal communication), we can at least explain why di kea has a negative meaning.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780824879075
MARC Record
OCLC
1053883872
Pages
362-382
Launched on MUSE
2018-09-19
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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