Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus

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Negation of subject with nominal modifiers in Sesotho

Elias Nyefolo Malete


This article examines constituent negation in Sesotho, focussing on negation of the subject with nominal modifiers of matrix clauses. Sesotho is an African language that falls under the Bantu family. Unlike English, which makes use of negative elements to negate clausal constituents, such as no in no children have eaten, Sesotho does not have a direct means of negating a clausal constituent. The central aim of this article is to demonstrate how Sesotho employs negative clauses, such as negative cleft sentences, negative pseudo-cleft sentences and negative clauses, together with the marker ho, to realise constituent negation. This article will also argue that, in terms of Haegemen’s (1995) Neg-Criterion, Sesotho does not have non-negative operators that could constitute the realisation of local or constituent negation.

Keywords: constituent negation, cleft sentence, nominal modifiers, pseudo-cleft sentence, Sesotho, subject
AJOL African Journals Online