Gender and Behaviour

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The scope of negation in Sesotho

Elias Nyefolo Malete


Negation is described by Zanuttini (1997) as the syntactic process by which a language employ negative markers to negate a clause in order to express a negative proposition. Negation entails constituent negation and sentence negation which together serve as inferences to the scope of negation. Du Plessis and Visser (1992) describe scope as that portion of the sentence within which the modal operator may affect claims about the identifiability of referents. The modal operator in negative sentences that determines the scope of negation is argued by different scholars such as Klima (1964), Lasnik (1974), Haegeman (1995), Zanuttini (1997) in dealing with the scope of negation. With this article the aim is to look at the influence of Sesotho negative morphemes on other constituents in a sentence, i.e. how far can their scope be extended in sentences and what is the interpretation of such constituents within their scope.

Keywords: Sesotho, sentence negation, constituent negation, scope of negation

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