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Quantification and polarity: negative adverbial intensifiers (‘never ever’, ‘not at all’, etc.) in Hausa.

Jaggar, Philip J. (2010) 'Quantification and polarity: negative adverbial intensifiers (‘never ever’, ‘not at all’, etc.) in Hausa.' In: Cyffer, Norbert and Ebermann, Erwin and Ziegelmeyer, Georg, (eds.), Negation Patterns in West African Languages. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 52-65. (Typological Studies in Language, 87)

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Abstract

Hausa has a typologically interesting but poorly understood set of quantifying time and degree adverbs—equivalent to English 'never ever', 'not at all', etc.—which behave as negative polarity items and enhance the pragmatic impact of a negative utterance (both verbal and non-verbal). The functional distribution of these adverbial intensifiers is unusual, however, in that some are "bipolar", i.e., they can express opposite (minimal/maximal) values according to whether they occur in negative or positive syntactic environments, with the minimal intensifiers operating at the negative pole. An intensifier such as dàɗai, for example, can mean either 'never' (negative) or 'always' (positive), and other modifiers, e.g., atàbau, can express these same temporal meanings in addition to 'absolutely'. This paper provides a unified account of this natural functional class of adverbs, and is seen as a contribution to cross-linguistic research into polarity items and their licensing contexts.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
ISBN: 9789027206688
Depositing User: Phil Jaggar
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2011 09:21
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7754

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