Sentential Negation in Libyan Arabic: A Generative Perspective

Ali Algryani


This paper discusses negation in Libyan Arabic and attempts to put forward an analysis for negation in the language. The paper reveals that Pollock’s analysis (1989) of negation cannot account for Libyan Arabic as the language does not display complementary distribution between the second negative marker and indefinite quantifiers. Furthermore, the analysis does not account for the cliticisation of ‘ma-’ and ‘-š’ on each other forming the free negation morpheme ‘miš’ used to negate future tense clauses. Building on Benmamoun’s analysis (2000), the paper argues that that the (dis)continuous morpheme ‘ma-’ and ‘-š’ heads a NegP that selects a TP complement. The proposed analysis assumes that the verb moves out of the VP to T and then to Neg where it merges with ‘ma-š in affirmative clauses, whereas in yes-no interrogative clauses, verb movement is followed by movement from Neg to C. 

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