A) The basic form for negation of most tenses is a prefix /ʔay/ and a suffix /n/ around the verb. According to Mason, the /n/ comes at the very end, even after object pronouns.

Phonological Constraints: If a verb already begins with /y/, do not double /y/. If a verb begins with /ʔa/, the prefix becomes /ʔaye/ and replaces the /ʔa/.

B) For a negative command, the prefix is /ʔayt/ as in (from notes): /wuseda/ "take her" vs. /ʔaytuseda/ "don't take her." (no suffix)

C) The jussive (like a command, but also 1st and 3rd person; similar to "let us do x") receives the prefix /ʔay/ and no suffix.


A) The verb /ʔelo/ means "to be [present]." Mason shows the negation to be pretty regular, although the prefix he gives is just /y/ instead of /ʔay/, e.g. 3m(s) = /yelon/

But he also notes that, for whatever reason, the negative present tense verb when applied to inanimate objects is /yelɨbon/ and is not conjugated. (?)

B) The verb /ʔelo/ can also express "to have" when combined with a pronoun object suffix to designate the possessor. (Something like "X is [present] to me.")

When positive, the verb is inflected to agree with its grammatical subject, the thing possessed. But in the negative form, apparently, only the pronominal suffixes change. The negative conjugation: (Having never heard Meħari pronounce these, I've left the 6th order vowel in everywhere it might appear.)

1 (s)/yebɨleyɨn/1 (pl)/yebɨlɨnan/
2 m (s)/yebɨlɨkan/2 m (pl)/yebɨlɨkumɨn/
2 f (s)/yebɨlɨkɨn/2 f (pl)/yebɨlɨkɨnɨn/
3 m (s)/yebɨlun/3 m (pl)/yebɨlomɨn/
3 f (s)/yebɨlan/3 f (pl)/yebɨlonɨn/

C) Negative conjugation of the verb "to be":

1 (s)/ʔaykwenkun/1 (pl)/ʔaykwenɨnan/
2 m (s)/ʔaykwenkan/2 m (pl)/ʔaykwenkumɨn/
2 f (s)/ʔaykwenkɨn/2 f (pl)/ʔaykwenkɨnɨn/
3 m (s)/ʔaykwenen/3 m (pl)/ʔaykwenun/
3 f (s)/ʔaykweneten/3 f (pl)/ʔaykwenan/

This came up in discussion on 11/03. Meħari translated/ʔaykwenen/ (transcribed in my notes as [ʔaykwənʌn]) variously as "he didn't," "it's not as you say," "it's not true" and a few others. The sentence in question was (pardon my transcription): no piro ʔaykwənʌn ɡəziyu rəsasyu ɡəziyu (no) (pen) (it isnˈt) (he bouɡht) (pencil) (he bouɡht) Although we had this translated as "No, he didn't buy a pen, he bought a pencil," I presume it's more like "It wasn't a pen he bought, it was a pencil."

Last modified 2003/11/16 21:36.