Negator turned intersubjective speech-act adverbial

Seng Hian Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates the non-negating negator m in Taiwanese. With respect to its function, this study argues that it is neither an intensifier nor a rhetorical marker. Furthermore, contrary to prevalent intuition, the combination m-tō is not parallel to the ostensible cognate bújiù in Mandarin Chinese. Instead, the non-negating m is an intersubjective speech-act adverbial affix attaching to the head of FocP (realized as tō or tsiah) that takes scope over whatever follows. Typologically, this study uncovers another use of non-negating negation in natural languages, and consequently challenges the enterprise pursuing a unified analysis for the phenomena of the so-called expletive negation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-166
Number of pages54
JournalConcentric: Studies in Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 19


  • Expletive negation
  • Non-negating negator
  • Speech-act adverbial
  • Taiwanese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Negator turned intersubjective speech-act adverbial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this