Negation in Wauja Discourse

In: Negation in Arawak Languages


This chapter describes forms of negation in Wauja, an Arawak language spoken in the Upper Xingu region of the Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil. In this chapter I document some common formal negation strategies in Wauja. I analyze standard negation of main clauses using the Wauja negative element aitsa. I describe Wauja standard negation as relatively symmetrical in that there is very little structural difference between declarative sentences that assert propositions and their negated counterparts besides the addition of the negative element. This contrasts with data from other Arawak languages that show how negation interacts in complex ways with Tense-Aspect-Mood (TAM) categories in relatively asymmetrical ways. I discuss forms of nonstandard negation in Wauja that employ morphologically complex forms. I present examples of morphological derivations from the negative element aitsa that add epistemic and emphatic meanings, and accomplish conditional and deontic negation. I also examine constituent negation utilizing the privative morpheme ma-, commonly found in Arawak languages. I analyze another form of nonstandard negation, existential negation, as employing a morphological variant of privative ma-. My data are drawn from elicited and naturally occurring discourse contexts.


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