Double Negatives

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Re: Double Negatives

#81  Postby Mick » Dec 22, 2011 6:42 pm

Hacknslash? Where r ya?
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Re: Double Negatives

#82  Postby katja z » Dec 22, 2011 6:42 pm

Regina wrote:
You know fuck all about evolution.
I know bugger-all about quantum theory.
I know sweet Fanny Adams about linguistics.
I asked for advice and got bugger-all.
:mrgreen:


This is hardly appropriate for an academic discussion. :snooty:



:lol: Great examples! :thumbup:
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Re: Double Negatives

#83  Postby Regina » Dec 22, 2011 6:50 pm

katja z wrote:
Regina wrote:
You know fuck all about evolution.
I know bugger-all about quantum theory.
I know sweet Fanny Adams about linguistics.
I asked for advice and got bugger-all.
:mrgreen:


This is hardly appropriate for an academic discussion. :snooty:



:lol: Great examples! :thumbup:

I still remember the first time I heard someone use "fuck all" in a conversation many years ago. It took me two or three seconds to realize that "fuck" in that context indicated the opposite of "all". My English wasn't very good then.
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Re: Double Negatives

#84  Postby Corneel » Dec 22, 2011 7:33 pm

I knew already that they often use double (even multiple) negation in West Flemish (and some other Flemish dialects), but apparently because of several "doubling mechanisms" you can theoretically get up to seven negations in a phrase where Standard Dutch would only get one.
Standard Dutch:
"‘Hij heeft sindsdien nooit1 meer ergens veel plezier met iemand gehad.’
"Since then he's never had much fun anywhere with anyone anymore."
West-Flemish:
Hij en1 heeft sedertdien nooit2 nievers3 me(t) niemand4 nie5 vele geen6 leute nie7 meer g’had."
"Since then he hasn't never had not much no fun nowhere with no one no more"

source (in Dutch apart from the little abstract)
http://webh01.ua.ac.be/linguist/SBKL/sbkl2009/vanw2009.pdf
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Re: Double Negatives

#85  Postby katja z » Dec 22, 2011 7:47 pm

Corneel wrote:I knew already that they often use double (even multiple) negation in West Flemish (and some other Flemish dialects), but apparently because of several "doubling mechanisms" you can theoretically get up to seven negations in a phrase where Standard Dutch would only get one.
Standard Dutch:
"‘Hij heeft sindsdien nooit1 meer ergens veel plezier met iemand gehad.’
"Since then he's never had much fun anywhere with anyone anymore."
West-Flemish:
Hij en1 heeft sedertdien nooit2 nievers3 me(t) niemand4 nie5 vele geen6 leute nie7 meer g’had."
"Since then he hasn't never had not much no fun nowhere with no one no more"

source (in Dutch apart from the little abstract)
http://webh01.ua.ac.be/linguist/SBKL/sbkl2009/vanw2009.pdf


This does sound rather extreme :shock: Very interesting!

In Slovenian we routinely use multiple negatives, but not quite so many at once. Usually you can pile up up to three negatives and still have a perfectly functional sentence:
Nikoli(1) več ne(2) grem nikamor(3). I'm not going anywhere ever again.
Z nikomer(1) več nočem(2) govoriti o ničemer(3). I don't want to talk to anyone about anything.
Four would probably be technically possible, but that would really be pushing it.
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Re: Double Negatives

#86  Postby nunnington » Dec 22, 2011 9:00 pm

katja z wrote:
Regina wrote:
You know fuck all about evolution.
I know bugger-all about quantum theory.
I know sweet Fanny Adams about linguistics.
I asked for advice and got bugger-all.
:mrgreen:


This is hardly appropriate for an academic discussion. :snooty:



:lol: Great examples! :thumbup:


One interesting thing about these is that against things like 'you don't know shit', where we have two negative markers, not and shit, in 'you know fuck-all', the first negative marker has disappeared. This is rather similar to French apparently, where in colloquial speech the 'ne' can be omitted, just leaving the 'pas'.

There is something here about redundancy maybe, that two negative markers are not needed, so one can be left out.

But of course, in some languages this is not correct, and two (or more) are actually required.

I wonder if anyone has written a Ph. D. on this. Very likely. 'Redundancy in negative markers in some European languages'. It may even be possible to work out some order to this, although I can't see any off-hand.
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Re: Double Negatives

#87  Postby katja z » Dec 22, 2011 9:13 pm

nunnington wrote:

One interesting thing about these is that against things like 'you don't know shit', where we have two negative markers, not and shit, in 'you know fuck-all', the first negative marker has disappeared. This is rather similar to French apparently, where in colloquial speech the 'ne' can be omitted, just leaving the 'pas'.

There is something here about redundancy maybe, that two negative markers are not needed, so one can be left out.


This is an interesting suggestion.

I read these examples as variations on "You know nothing", where "nothing" is replaced by expressions like "fuck all" or "bugger all". But it is certainly interesting to look at them in the light of what has happened in French.

Hmm. Now I'm wondering - is it possible to say "You don't know fuck-all?"
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Re: Double Negatives

#88  Postby Corneel » Dec 22, 2011 9:25 pm

katja z wrote:
Corneel wrote:I knew already that they often use double (even multiple) negation in West Flemish (and some other Flemish dialects), but apparently because of several "doubling mechanisms" you can theoretically get up to seven negations in a phrase where Standard Dutch would only get one.
Standard Dutch:
"‘Hij heeft sindsdien nooit1 meer ergens veel plezier met iemand gehad.’
"Since then he's never had much fun anywhere with anyone anymore."
West-Flemish:
Hij en1 heeft sedertdien nooit2 nievers3 me(t) niemand4 nie5 vele geen6 leute nie7 meer g’had."
"Since then he hasn't never had not much no fun nowhere with no one no more"

source (in Dutch apart from the little abstract)
http://webh01.ua.ac.be/linguist/SBKL/sbkl2009/vanw2009.pdf


This does sound rather extreme :shock: Very interesting!

In Slovenian we routinely use multiple negatives, but not quite so many at once. Usually you can pile up up to three negatives and still have a perfectly functional sentence:
Nikoli(1) več ne(2) grem nikamor(3). I'm not going anywhere ever again.
Z nikomer(1) več nočem(2) govoriti o ničemer(3). I don't want to talk to anyone about anything.
Four would probably be technically possible, but that would really be pushing it.

Well, West Flemish kept the negative "en" particle that existed in Middle Dutch (which had double negation), but fell out use in Standard Dutch. And doublings like "nooit niemeer" (never no more) or "nergens nie(t)" (nowhere no(t)) are still quite common in West Flemish & Brabantic. So it's not that rare to actually hear double or triple negation (or even quadruple negation) in everyday speech. Seven is pushing it but it doesn't sound really forced.

West Flemish likes doubling apparently, they also often double pronouns as subjec: "'k zal ekik u iet zegg'n" (I shall tell you something)
And you can have up to three times go (as auxiliary) in Flemish: "Ik ga eens gaan gaan eten" (more or less, "I'm going to get going to eat")
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Re: Double Negatives

#89  Postby Evolving » Dec 22, 2011 9:30 pm

That "nergens niet" sounds so much like a Bavarian "nirgends net" (were it not that "nirgends" sounds a bit scholarly to southern ears), that I wonder whether double negatives used to be far more widespread than today in the member languages of "Dutch" (Shakespearean English for Deutsch). And, if so, what happened to them.
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Re: Double Negatives

#90  Postby katja z » Dec 22, 2011 9:40 pm

Evolving wrote:That "nergens niet" sounds so much like a Bavarian "nirgends net" (were it not that "nirgends" sounds a bit scholarly to southern ears), that I wonder whether double negatives used to be far more widespread than today in the member languages of "Dutch" (Shakespearean English for Deutsch). And, if so, what happened to them.


This reminds me of the expressive doubling we have in Slovenian: "nikoli in nikdar" (literally "never and never") or (much less usual) "nikoder nikjer" (both words mean "nowhere"). I suppose if you have two words meaning the same thing, you might just as well put them to good stylistic use. :grin:
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Re: Double Negatives

#91  Postby kiore » Dec 22, 2011 9:49 pm

katja z wrote:




Hmm. Now I'm wondering - is it possible to say "You don't know fuck-all?"


Katja, she don't know fuck all.. :P How about that? Finally I can participate here, yes indeed I have heard the "you don't know fuck all" and even better "you don't know fuck all about nothing" used in Australia and suspect it would also work in some parts of the UK.
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Re: Double Negatives

#92  Postby katja z » Dec 22, 2011 9:57 pm

kiore wrote:
katja z wrote:

Hmm. Now I'm wondering - is it possible to say "You don't know fuck-all?"


Katja, she don't know fuck all.. :P How about that? Finally I can participate here, yes indeed I have heard the "you don't know fuck all" and even better "you don't know fuck all about nothing" used in Australia and suspect it would also work in some parts of the UK.


Thanks :cheers:

So evidence is on nunnington's side here :)

A follow-up question (I'm trying to work out the constraints): what about "You know fuck all about nothing"?
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Re: Double Negatives

#93  Postby don't get me started » Dec 23, 2011 3:16 am

katja z wrote:@ don't get me started, is the book about native or second language acquisition (or both)? I'm wondering about the "older learners" in the first paragraph.

In any case, it sounds like an interesting read.


He's talking about both, with the 'older learners' referring to second language (L2) learners who are beyond the critical period, that is, people who no longer have the innate language learning ability that humans seem to possess up until puberty.

Yes, an interesting read, but one of those books that you read for a couple of paragraphs/pages and then have to stop and have thing about.

@palindnilap. Fantastic explanation about negation in French. I love this kind of linguistic archeology and always wondered what the 'pas' was in the negative construction.

This gradual simplification may have a modern parallel in English. Recent corpus findings have suggested that 'innit' as a default tag question is spreading through spoken British English, beyond the youth/immigrant socio-liguistic group.

"He's not done nothing wrong, innit?" (He hasn't done anything wrong, has he?)

I know that my students struggle with tag questions in English and they have a tendency to select 'isn't it' as the default. Japanese, like German 'Nicht Wahr' or French 'N'est pas' ahs a defualt tag: 'Desu Ne'.

On the topic of negation in other languages, Japanese is replete double negative constructions, (and triple negatives and more!

ないことはない Nai koto Wa Nai = Perhaps.

東京駅  まで  快速 で  20分  だから 、今すぐ  出れば 間に合わ ない こと は ない。

Tokyo Eki made kaisoku de nijyupunn dakara imasugu dereba maniawa nai koto wa nai.

Tokyo station to highway on 20 minutes so right now go out-if on time not case is not.

It 20 minutes on the highway to Tokyo station, so if we leave now, perhaps we'll be on time. (i.e 'It's not the case that we won't make it.)

Japanese also uses negatives in a pragmatically different manner to English.

A: Isn't it raining?
B: (looks out of the window at a clear blue sky) Yes.

In this case B is effectively saying.."Yes, you were right, it isn't raining".

As you will imagine, this leads to all kinds of troubles when speaking across cultures!

Thanks to all participants...it's a great thread. I'm really enjoying it.
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Re: Double Negatives

#94  Postby hackenslash » Dec 23, 2011 7:17 am

Apologies, peeps. I'm not going to get back to this thread until after the holidays. I'm really very busy. I'll give it my attention when I can.
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Re: Double Negatives

#95  Postby katja z » Dec 23, 2011 8:09 am

don't get me started wrote:
katja z wrote:@ don't get me started, is the book about native or second language acquisition (or both)? I'm wondering about the "older learners" in the first paragraph.

In any case, it sounds like an interesting read.


He's talking about both, with the 'older learners' referring to second language (L2) learners who are beyond the critical period, that is, people who no longer have the innate language learning ability that humans seem to possess up until puberty.


Thank you. (As a side note, this mysterious apparent switching-off of the language learning ability is something that really, really bugs me. I think it's been discussed on the forum before, I can dig up the links if anyone is interested.)


This gradual simplification may have a modern parallel in English. Recent corpus findings have suggested that 'innit' as a default tag question is spreading through spoken British English, beyond the youth/immigrant socio-liguistic group.

"He's not done nothing wrong, innit?" (He hasn't done anything wrong, has he?)

I know that my students struggle with tag questions in English and they have a tendency to select 'isn't it' as the default. Japanese, like German 'Nicht Wahr' or French 'N'est pas' ahs a defualt tag: 'Desu Ne'.


Very interesting remarks! This makes a lot of sense. English question tags are relatively complicated, and simplifying them to "innit" does not actually affect communication. A lot of languages indeed make do with just one question tag for all occasions. The German example ("nicht wahr" - "not true") nicely illustrates that the implied question in such cases is "is what I have just said not true?"
In Slovenian, we use "kajne" - or, more informally, "ane" or "ne" - as the default tag ("kaj" and "a" are interrogation markers and "ne" means "no" or "not"). There is also an older version: "ne res" ("not true"), so the transition from using a more explicit form to its shortened version can be directly observed.

On the topic of negation in other languages, Japanese is replete double negative constructions, (and triple negatives and more!

ないことはない Nai koto Wa Nai = Perhaps.


Would this be literally something like "not impossible"?

Japanese also uses negatives in a pragmatically different manner to English.

A: Isn't it raining?
B: (looks out of the window at a clear blue sky) Yes.

In this case B is effectively saying.."Yes, you were right, it isn't raining".

As you will imagine, this leads to all kinds of troubles when speaking across cultures!


This is a fascinating illustration of the role of pragmatic conventions.

I imagine your students tend to do this in English as well? It is after all the "natural" way to answer such a question ...

Thanks to all participants...it's a great thread. I'm really enjoying it.


You're not the only one! :grin:
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Re: Double Negatives

#96  Postby rainbow » Dec 23, 2011 8:14 am

katja z wrote:
You're not the only one! :grin:

Not me, neither.
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Re: Double Negatives

#97  Postby z8000783 » Dec 23, 2011 8:55 am

kiore wrote:
katja z wrote:




Hmm. Now I'm wondering - is it possible to say "You don't know fuck-all?"


Katja, she don't know fuck all.. :P How about that? Finally I can participate here, yes indeed I have heard the "you don't know fuck all" and even better "you don't know fuck all about nothing" used in Australia and suspect it would also work in some parts of the UK.

Common parlance in Deptford and the response is a Double Positive.

"Yea right."

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Re: Double Negatives

#98  Postby nunnington » Dec 23, 2011 8:57 am

I woke up thinking about words like 'any', which are kind of negative markers, e.g. 'I don't have any money', except that 'any' can also be used with questions, 'have you any money?'

So 'I don't have any money' could be described as a double negative, but the second one negative marker is 'any', described usually as an indefinite determiner (?), or traditionally as an indefinite article (?).

Of course, the true double negative here is 'I don't have no money'.

One interesting thing here is that I can't say 'I don't have some money', but I can say 'do you have some money?' I don't know if there are dialects where 'I don't have some money' is OK.

Again, some semantic negatives seem able to trigger off 'any', as in 'I doubt he has any money', 'I doubt if he'll ever get over it'.

'Any' also has that special meaning of 'all', e.g. 'any linguist will tell you how boring it is'.
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Re: Double Negatives

#99  Postby nunnington » Dec 23, 2011 8:59 am

z8000783 wrote:
kiore wrote:
katja z wrote:




Hmm. Now I'm wondering - is it possible to say "You don't know fuck-all?"


Katja, she don't know fuck all.. :P How about that? Finally I can participate here, yes indeed I have heard the "you don't know fuck all" and even better "you don't know fuck all about nothing" used in Australia and suspect it would also work in some parts of the UK.

Common parlance in Deptford and the response is a Double Positive.

"Yea right."

John


Nice example. There are sarcastic negatives in English, and I would think, in many languages: 'Yeah, I'm really going to get up at six and wash your car'. Sometimes today, people add 'Not', or 'in your dreams, mate' and the like.
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Re: Double Negatives

#100  Postby The_Metatron » Dec 23, 2011 9:17 am

hackenslash wrote:Apologies, peeps. I'm not going to get back to this thread until after the holidays. I'm really very busy. I'll give it my attention when I can.

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