Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-cnmwb Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-23T02:31:01.281Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Towards a typology of standard negation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2008

Matti Miestamo
Department of General Linguistics, University of Helsinki, P. O. Box 4, 00014Finland. E-mail:
Get access


Standard negation is the basic sentential negation in a language. This article proposes a typology of standard negation that takes into account the whole negative construction and allows explanation of different negation types by different semantico-pragmatic background phenomena. There is semantic and pragmatic asymmetry between affirmation and negation, and this asymmetry is manifested in different ways in the morphosyntax of negative constructions. The primary division in the classification is between symmetric and asymmetric negation. The asymmetric type can be divided into subtypes according to which aspects of the semantico-pragmatic asymmetry are grammaticalized in the negative constructions. Symmetric and asymmetric negative constructions are analogous to the affirmative structure and to the background semantics and pragmatics of negation, respectively.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2000

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Aikhenvald, A. Y. & Dixon, R. M. V. 1998. Dependencies between Grammatical Systems. Language 74, 5680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Broschart, J. 1999. Negation in Tongan. In Hovdhaugen, E. & Mosel, U. (eds), Negation in Oceanic Languages. München: Lincom Europa, 96114.Google Scholar
Brown, R. D. 1994. Kresh. In van den Berg, R. & Kahrel, P. (eds), Typological Studies in Negation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 163189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Capell, A. & Hinch, H. E. 1970. Maung Grammar. The Hague: Mouton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chang, S.- J. 1996. Korean. Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Churchward, C. M. 1953. Tongan Grammar. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Cole, P. 1985. Imbabura Quechua. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
Comrie, B. 1980. Negation and Other Verb Categories in the Uralic Languages. Congressus quintus internationalis fenno-ugristarum VI. Turku: Suomen kielen seura, 350355.Google Scholar
Contini-Morava, E. 1989. Discourse Pragmatics and Semantic Categorization: The Case of Negation and Tense-Aspect with Special Reference to Swahili. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dahl, Ö. 1979. Typology of Sentence Negation. Linguistics 17.1/2, 79106. [Published in 1977 as Negation in Universal Grammar, Gothenburg Papers in Theoretical Linguistics 33.]Google Scholar
Dryer, M. 1992. The Greenbergian Word Order Correlations. Language 68, 81138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forest, R. 1993. Négations: Essai de syntaxe et de typologie linguistique. Paris: Klincksieck.Google Scholar
Givón, T. 1978. Negation in Language: Pragmatics, Function, Ontology. In Cole, P. (ed.), Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 9. Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press, 69112.Google Scholar
Givón, T. 1984. Syntax: A Functional-Typological Introduction. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hagège, C. 1995. La Structure des Langues. (Quatrième édition corrigee). Paris: PUF.Google Scholar
Hajdú, P. 1988. Die samojedischen Sprachen. In Sinor, D. (ed.), The Uralic Languages. Leiden: Brill, 440.Google Scholar
Hartzler, M. 1994. Sentani. In van den Berg, R. & Kahrel, P. (eds), Typological Studies in Negation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 5164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Honda, I. 1996. Negation: A Cross-Linguistic Study. Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo.Google Scholar
Honti, L. 1997a. Die Negation im Uralischen I. Linguistica Uralica 2, 8196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Honti, L. 1997b. Die Negation im Uralischen II. Linguistica Uralica 3, 161176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hopper, P. J. & Thompson, S. A. 1980. Transitivity in Grammar and Discourse. Language 56, 251–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Itkonen, E. 1999. Analogy Inside Linguistics and Outside. Paper given at the 6th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Stockholm.Google Scholar
Jespersen, O. 1917. Negation in English and other Languages. Konelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser I, 5. Copenhagen: Høst.Google Scholar
Kahrel, P. 1996. Aspects of Negation. Dissertation, University of Amsterdam.Google Scholar
Kàlmàn, B. 1965. Vogul Chrestomathy. Bloomington: Indiana University.Google Scholar
Kasik, R. 1992. Hakkame rääkima! Viron kielen peruskurssi. Turku: Turun yliopiston suomalaisen ja yleisen kielitieteen laitos.Google Scholar
Kettunen, L. 1938. Livisches Wörterbuch. Helsinki: Finnisch-Ugrische Gesellschaft.Google Scholar
Klima, E. S. 1964. Negation in English. In Fodor, J. A. & Katz, J. J. (eds), The Structure of Language: Readings in the Philosophy of Language. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 246323.Google Scholar
Koehn, E. & Koehn, S. 1986. Apalai. In Derbyshire, D. C. & Pullum, G. (eds), Handbook of Amazonian Languages. Vol. 1. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 33127.Google Scholar
Lazdina, T. B. 1966. Latvian. London: The English Universities Press.Google Scholar
Lewis, G. L. 1975. Turkish Grammar. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Miestamo, M. 1998. Affirmaation ja negaation asymmetriasta maailman kielissä. In Pajunen, A. (ed.), Kieliopillistumisesta, analogiasta ja typologiasta. Helsinki: Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, 182216.Google Scholar
Miestamo, M. forthcoming a. Negaation typologiasta: yleisäa ja uralilaista. In Pajunen, A. (ed.), Näkökulmia kielitypologiaan. Helsinki: Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura.Google Scholar
Miestamo, M. forthcoming b. Negation. In Blommaert, J., Bulcaen, C., Östman, J.-O. & Verschueren, J. (eds), Handbook of Pragmatics: The 1999 Installment. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar
Nedyalkov, I. 1994. Evenki. van den Berg, R. & Kahrel, P. (eds), Typological Studies in Negation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 134.Google Scholar
Nedyalkov, I. 1997. Evenki. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Payne, J. R. 1985. Negation. In Shopen, T. (ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Vol. I. Clause Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 197242.Google Scholar
Ramstedt, G. J. 1997 [1939]. A Korean Grammar. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society.Google Scholar
Rédei, K. 1978. Syrjänische Chrestomathie. Wien: Verband der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaften Österreichs.Google Scholar
van Schaaik, G. 1994. Turkish. In van den Berg, R. & Kahrel, P. (eds), Typological Studies in Negation. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 3550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stassen, L. 1985. Comparison and Universal Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Tauli, V. 1966. Structural Tendencies in Uralic Languages. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar