Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 10 (2020)

Nunca and other aspects of negation in Kalunga Portuguese

Ana Paulla Braga Mattos (Aarhus University)

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This paper investigates the use of negative markers in Kalunga Portuguese and aspects of negation phenomena in this variety. Kalunga has several types of sentential negation: preverbal, discontinuous and post-verbal negation. The distribution of negative indefinites and negative predicates in Kalunga is also discussed, as well as the use of nunca ‘never/not’ functioning as a negative temporal adverb, as opposed to its use as a negative sentential marker. All these phenomena are investigated from a diachronic perspective in order to discuss whether they are remnants from Old Portuguese or new developments in Kalunga. The results show that: the use of discontinuous and post-verbal negation strategies in Kalunga appears to follow general patterns of Brazilian Portuguese varieties, especially of Afro-Portuguese varieties; nunca ‘never/not’ functioning as a negative sentential marker seems to be a common grammaticalisation process in creoles and some other contact varieties; and the co-occurrence of nem ‘nor’ and ninguém ‘nobody’ with other negative markers in preverbal position is attested in Old Portuguese, but not frequently, and mostly in plays. This suggests that this phenomenon in Kalunga could be the result of a retention of features that occurred in (vernacular) Old Portuguese combined with new developments.

Keywords: Nunca ‘never’, negative marker, Kalunga Portuguese, Afro-variety, negation