Yorùbá Sentential Negative Markers

Keywords: negative markers, allomorphs, form-interpretation mismatch, mood and aspect, Yorùbá


The main claim of this paper is that Yoruba has only four sentential negative markers, kìí, , kọ́ and , contrary to a traditional assumption that there are six of them (Fabunmi 2013).  It is argued that these markers can be subcategorized into two morphemes: the k-morpheme and the -morpheme. The k- and -morphemes are distinguished based on mood. The k-morpheme is used in realis mood while the má-morpheme is used in irrealis mood. Kìí, , and kọ́, which are taken to be allomorphs of the k-morpheme, are distinguished based on aspect and focus. It is shown that when the SN markers occur in a different modal-aspectual environment, this generally gives rise to the kind of form-interpretation mismatches described for functional items in Carlson (2006).

Author Biography

Taofeeq A. Adebayo, Tulane University

PhD Candidate, Program in Linguistics, Tulane University