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Deficient Verb [KA] In Sesotho Negative Constructions

Elias Nyefolo Malete


Sesotho is one of the African Languages that expresses sentence negation by means of bound pre-verbal negative morphemes. It has only three negative morphemes, viz. /ha/, /sa/ and /se/ spread across various Sesotho matrix and subordinate clauses. These morphemes negate different predicate forms such as non-copulative verbs, copulative verbs and deficient verbs. However, with regard to deficient verbs such as /ile/, they are replaced by the deficient verb /ka/ in Sesotho negative constructions. An attempt will be made to demonstrate that negation of deficient verbs in Sesotho is achieved through the employment of the deficient verb /ka/ in all the three negative constructions where negative morphemes /ha/, /se/ and /sa/ appear. This study is a descriptive research design within Generative Grammar, examining the syntactic distribution of the deficient verb /ka/ with its supplementary role in Sesotho negative sentence constructions over a range of inflectional categories such as aspect and mood. This article maintains that the deficient verb /ka/ plays a significant role in negating deficient verbs in Sesotho and as such, should be regarded as the negative deficient verb as it is the case with the negative copulative verb /se/ in copulative constructions, and as it is the case with the negative suffix /-e/ in none copulatives.

Keywords: Negation, negative morphemes, deficient verbs, inflectional categories, Sesotho