The post that started it all…negation

So a part of the genesis of this blog was that I was making these really long posts on Facebook about Māori language and grammar which was great BUT they were too long for Facebook and more importantly, they were starting to clog up the newsfeed.

Below is one of the grammar rant posts I had written. It deals with negation. A lot, a lot of people struggle with negation. So without further ado here is the original post;

[Grammar Rant]

Negation in Māori

When negating possessive noun phrases such as ‘he waka tōku’ (I have a vehicle) and ‘he tamaiti tāna’ (He has a child) the negative form always defaults to the plural i.e.

‘Kāore ōku waka’ (I have no vehicles) and ‘kāore āna tamariki’ (he has no children).

Please take note for future reference.

[/Grammar Rant]

I think part of the difficulty with negation is that it is NOT straight forward. It involves a following a formula, and you have to go through a series of questions.

Am I negating a noun phrase or a verb phrase? If a verbal phrase, is it in the past, present or future tense? Am I negating an existential predicate?

Yeah, that’s some pretty technical things to think about, and we haven’t even gotten to actually building a sentence yet, and in fact those questions don’t cover all of the different types of negatives available!

So if you struggle with the negative, my advice is to focus on just learning how to use ehara, kāore and kaua effectively first, before trying something more complicated like e kore, hei aha and tē.



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