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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas