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Abstract

Guianese Lokono/Arawak is spoken in the lowlands of the Guianas, Guyana, Suriname, the French Overseas department of Guiana, and Venezuelan Guayana. It exhibits two negation operators: the particle kho(ro), and the privative ma-, used in some particular constructions.

Typically, the negative particle kho follows the predicate. With the exception of reportative tha, nothing can separate kho and the predicative core in clausal negation, or the negated constituent in constituent negation. Negative indefinites corresponding to English ‘nothing’ and ‘nobody’, and the negative time adverb ‘never’, are all formed using the negative particle kho(ro). This particle is not always a negation: it has also restrictive and attenuative values in some contexts.

Combined with relative nouns, privative ma- conveys the general meaning “to lack”; it combines also with stative roots. As a negation operator, ma- enters in a construction involving a non-finite form of the privative derived lexical verb and a dummy verb, bearing the inflectional morphology of the active verbs and functioning as an auxiliary. This construction forms the prohibitive; it is also commonly used with some verbs, like eithin, to know; anshin to want, and in subordinates.