A grammar of negation in Tonga.

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Nkolola, Sheila
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The University of Zambia
The study examined A Grammar of Negation in Tonga. The research was explored in order to investigate the morphological, syntactic and the semantic structure of negation in Tonga. The objectives of the study were; to analyze the morphology of negation in Tonga, to examine the syntactic distribution and some semantic aspects of negation in Tonga. In particular, the study examined incorporation, productivity of negative markers across the noun class system, the necessity of the negative marker ‘ta’ within a statement and the negative concord. Secondary and Primary sources were employed in data collection. The study employed a qualitative approach and the findings were analyzed in line with the objectives. The major negative markers under discussion include: ‘ta’, ‘na’, ‘ni’, ‘ti’, ‘pe’, ‘tu’, ‘li’ and ‘he’ . From the morphological point of view, the study reveals that negation is manifested through prefixation and suffixation. Following the Jespersen’s cycle theory, the negative marker ‘ta’ is considered as an original negator or necessity in the sense that, when it is dropped in a negative expression, the statement loses its grammaticality. The example is illustrated as: Utakkali pe,’ direct translated as ‘you should not sit no’. When the negative marker ‘ta’ is dropped, the statement is presented as: *Ukkali pe ‘you sit not’. From the given illustrations, the second statement is considered ungrammatical because of the absence of the original negative marker ‘ta’. Hence, the negative marker ‘ta’ generates the theme called necessity. Nonetheless, the negative markers ‘li’ and ‘ta’ are considered to be the most productive elements in the noun class system. The marker ‘li’ can be applied in the noun class (1); these are nouns that begin with the morpheme ‘mu’. An example is illustrated as: Tali Muntu ‘it is not a person’, among others. Syntactically, the theory of negation that encompasses sentential and constituent negation played a very important role in this study. With regards to sentential negation, the negative marker scopes over the entire sentence whereas constituent negation focuses on a particular category. Semantically, the study reveals that Tonga is a negative concord language; this is because most of the negative expressions manifest more than one negative marker with a single interpretation. Having achieved the study’s objectives, the study recommends other studies to investigate a comparison of negation between English and Tonga and other Bantu languages.
Thesis of Master of Arts in Linguistic Science.