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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Negation in Thadou


This paper attempts to discuss the different types of negative particles in Thadou, a Tibeto-Burman language of the Kuki-Chin subgroup spoken by around 231, 200 (Lewis 2009) speakers of northeast India and Myanmar. Thadou has three main negative particles – pòo, hìq, and lòw, in addition to the negative particles dàa and mɔ̀ɔ which most often occur as sentence final particles. Previous scholars working on the language, viz. Grierson (1904), Thirumalai (1971) and Krishan (1980) have discussed three of these negative particles, viz. pòo, hìq and lòw, in a much narrower sense by assigning only one negative construction for each negative particle. In this paper, I provide three constructions – declarative, interrogative and imperative – for the occurrence of each of the negative particles and argue that with the exception to the imperative construction, two or more negative particles can be used in the same construction with slight nuances of meaning.

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