Double Negation

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Hlewagastiz
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Post by Hlewagastiz »

Siride wrote:Also, is it not true that French is sort of doing the same thing with "pas"?


Technically it is the same, since one part of the whole "negation device" drops. However, semantically and etymologically there's some difference.

Look at what I wrote above...

Hlewagastiz wrote:a "two-word negative" (as is French ne ... pas etc.) differs from a "double negative", i.e. two real negations in the same sentence. A true "double negation" in French is the usage of ni ... non.


...and you'll see what I mean.
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2) Мне некогда: Хлевагастиз
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Post by garrett »

nebula wind phone wrote:The other interesting thing about French is that it's drifting back towards single negatives: from "ne ___" to "ne ___ pas" and now to "___ pas" with "pas" reanalyzed as the main negative marker.


of course the academy won't OK this, it's exclusively vernacular

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Post by garrett »

Or perhaps a historical movement towards double negation. Or due to the influence of another (African, Amerind, French?) language?


not likely, those who use such constructions are often uneducated and receive minimal contact with such other languages, there is little chance of influence

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Post by The Rt. Hon. Vlad Dracula »

garrett wrote:
Or perhaps a historical movement towards double negation. Or due to the influence of another (African, Amerind, French?) language?


not likely, those who use such constructions are often uneducated and receive minimal contact with such other languages, there is little chance of influence


Ebonics is often stereotyped as using double negatives, and that's had Wolof influence (among others), no?
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Post by Travis B. »

I can't say anything about outside influence on AAVE myself, but I can most definitely say that it, or at least the sort of it spoken in urban areas here in southeastern Wisconsin, most definitely has double negation, and it at least to me seems to be a systematic feature throughout it.
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Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.

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Re: Double Negation

Post by Petusek »

Hlewagastiz wrote:Many IE and non-IE languages use some kind of "double negation", i.e. their speakers repeat the negative particle before or after another negative word (a pronoun, an adverb, an adjective etc.). "Double negation" languages in Europe include:

1) All Balto-Slavonic languages


That's right. We can even talk of multiple negatives in languages like Czech:

Nikdy nikdo nikde neviděl žádného mimozemšťana

or, if you cannot display the special characters:

Nikdy nikdo nikde nevide^l z^a'dne'ho mimozems^t'ana

Literally:

Never nobody nowhere haven't seen no extra-terrestrial.

Translated as:

Nobody has ever seen any E.T. anywhere.

As you can see, up to five negatives, maybe more, can be used in a single Czech sentence...

Best,

Petusek

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Post by Seiphel »

Polish is more weird; we've got sometimes triple negation or quadruple etc.
Example? OK:
Nikt nigdzie nikogo nigdy nie widział (literally: noone nowhere noone never no saw :))
It means that we can negate 5 times (but Poles are clever, we can do more!)

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Post by Petusek »

Polish is more weird; we've got sometimes triple negation or quadruple etc.


Dear Seiphel, if you read my post carefully, you'd see that my example was a negation as "quintuple" as yours:

Nikdy (1) nikdo (2) nikde (3) nevide^l (4) z^a'dne'ho (5) mimozems^t'ana


(Literally Never (1) nobody (2) nowhere (3) haven't (4) seen no (5) extra-terrestrial)

Being Czech, and knowing some Polish, I'd rather say that, in this particular respect, Polish is just as weird as Czech. ;-)

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Post by Mecislau »

Petusek wrote:Being Czech, and knowing some Polish, I'd rather say that, in this particular respect, Polish is just as weird as Czech. ;-)


As has already been mentioned, this is common in most (all?) Slavic languages. Russian too:

Никто никогда нигде не видел никаких внеземных.
Nikto nikogda nigde ne videl nikakikh vnezemnykh.
"No-one never nowhere didn't see no-kind-of extraterrestrials"

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Post by Petusek »

As has already been mentioned, this is common in most (all?) Slavic languages


Yes, of course. I only reacted to Seiphel's claim that
Polish is more weird
(More than what? More than Czech? By no means.)

As this is quite common in Slavic, I wonder what other languages or language groups have this feature.

Petusek

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Post by Tengado »

Hlewagastiz wrote:
Miekko wrote:Some analyse double negatives in some languages as a kind of (negativity) agreement.


IMO, this is a very good approach to the topic.

This seems like a very good logical thing to have, and I wonder why more languages don't.

What flexibility would be lost if compulsory negativity agreement was there? In English we can say " I don't not like it/dislike it" in speech, and it would imply "I don't actively dislike it, but i definitely don't like it" - this kind of subtlety would obviously be lost if there was negativity agreement. Anything else you can think of?
- "But this can be stopped."
- "No, I came all this way to show you this because nothing can be done. Because I like the way your pupils dilate in the presence of total planetary Armageddon.
Yes, it can be stopped."

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Post by Petusek »

IMHO, this concerns the tension between efficiency and redundancy. As for Czech (as well as other languages), there's a gender+number+case agreement in whole clauses or phrases:

Vide^l jsem hezkou mladou holku

I saw a nice+{fem.acc.sg.} young+{fem.acc.sg.} girl+{fem.acc.sg.}

The redundancy/efficiency dichotomy is, to some extent, an argument for dis/ambiguity.

I don't think there's much difference between Enlish and Czech in this respect, which can be shown by means of simple algebraic operation:

If A, B and C are negatable expressions, if -1 is the negation, and if * is multiplication, then, in general, we can observe the following pattern:

S1 (Czech): (-1) * A + (-1) * B + (-1) * C
S2 (English): (-1) * (A + B + C)

By simple maths: S1 = S2

Hence, as can be seen, the meaning is clearly the same. However, what if the language needed to express the following?

E.g.:

(-1) * A + B + C
A + (-1) * B + C
A + B + (-1) * C
(-1) * A + (-1) * B + C
(-1) * A + B + (-1) * C
A + (-1) * B + (-1) * C

Each would lead to grammatical, but nonsensical sentences in Czech, but what about other languages?

Best,

Petusek

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Post by TaylorS »

double negation is very common is actual, spoken English. It doesn't exist in the formal language simply because of the idiocy of Prescriptivists.

"I don't have no money"
"You ain't nobody"
"You can't get none of this"

This is probably the same phenomenon as the French "ne ... pas".

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Post by Terra »

This is probably the same phenomenon as the French "ne ... pas".
French's is actually more like "I don't have a bit of money." and then the "a bit" becomes to mean the negative for every sentence. "pas" originally meant a "step", so compare "I will not walk a step.". It got extended to every sentence, thus yielding something that looks like "I will not eat a step." or "I don't have a step of money.".

Also, iirc, "ne" is usually dropped in casual French.

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Post by Avorentión »

Petusek wrote:As this is quite common in Slavic, I wonder what other languages or language groups have this feature.
The same exists in Hungarian too.
Nobody has ever seen any E.T. anywhere.=
Soha senki sehol nem látott egyetlen földönkívülit sem.
Never nobody nowhere no seeSG3.INDEF.PAST a single extra-terrestrialACC neither.

Another interesting thing is that the word egyetlen ('single', 'only one') literally means 'without one' or 'one-less'.

But when we negate only a verb, there's no double negation:

I don't know = Nem tudom (no knowSG1.DEF)
but
I don't know anything = Nem tudok semmit (no knowSG1.INDEF nothingACC)

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Post by Ngohe »

Icelandic has a kind of double negative.

Ég veit ekki neitt - "I don't know nothing".

Swedish has no double negatives, neither in formal or vernicular langage. It is possible to form negative sentences in different ways, using different kinds of negatives:

Jag såg ingen.

"I saw nobody"

Jag såg inte någon.

"I didn't see anyody"

However, it would be very strange to combine the two negatives:

*Jag såg inte ingen. - I didn't see nobody.

Double negatives ar every common among the worlds languages, according to WALS:

http://wals.info/feature/115

Whether it is liked by prescriptivists or not a matter more of historical circumstances, than of logic.

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Post by Salmoneus »

TaylorS wrote:double negation is very common is actual, spoken English. It doesn't exist in the formal language simply because of the idiocy of Prescriptivists.

"I don't have no money"
"You ain't nobody"
"You can't get none of this"

This is probably the same phenomenon as the French "ne ... pas".
No, it's 'very common' in the way YOU speak English. I would never say any of those things. If I did, it would not only be out of character, and ungrammatical, it would also be in danger of producing considerable offense in the wrong enviroment - as it would be assumed that somebody like me saying things like that was being patronising or mocking, and at the same time making allegations about the class of those I was talking to.

[Obviously, in the right environment, where everybody was confident in their class, it would only be annoying and rude; but if I said that to somebody who was, or thought I might think they were, of a different class from me, I would be liable to provoke umbrage]
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Post by Miekko »

Ngohe wrote: However, it would be very strange to combine the two negatives:

*Jag såg inte ingen. - I didn't see nobody.

Double negatives ar every common among the worlds languages, according to WALS:

http://wals.info/feature/115

Whether it is liked by prescriptivists or not a matter more of historical circumstances, than of logic.
There's one particular double negative that is sort of spread around over the dialect map rather haphazardly -
'inte aldrig' - not never.
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Post by Ngohe »

Miekko wrote:
Ngohe wrote:
Whether it is liked by prescriptivists or not a matter more of historical circumstances, than of logic.
There's one particular double negative that is sort of spread around over the dialect map rather haphazardly -
'inte aldrig' - not never.
That's a new one to me.

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Post by Miekko »

Ngohe wrote:
Miekko wrote:
Ngohe wrote:
Whether it is liked by prescriptivists or not a matter more of historical circumstances, than of logic.
There's one particular double negative that is sort of spread around over the dialect map rather haphazardly -
'inte aldrig' - not never.
That's a new one to me.
I've heard it from both sides of the gulf of bothnia, and on occasion on tv by even rather southern speakers. In Finland, its distribution probably has entered every rural dialect, and there its distribution is nearly fractal on an idiolect-level.
< Cev> My people we use cars. I come from a very proud car culture-- every part of the car is used, nothing goes to waste. When my people first saw the car, generations ago, we called it šuŋka wakaŋ-- meaning "automated mobile".

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Post by Torco »

TaylorS wrote:double negation is very common is actual, spoken English. It doesn't exist in the formal language simply because of the idiocy of Prescriptivists.

"I don't have no money"
"You ain't nobody"
"You can't get none of this"

This is probably the same phenomenon as the French "ne ... pas".
Aaactually it's only common in a few 'lects... and nah, not the same thing as french: ne...pas evolved from an idiomatic expression, AFAIK, whereas double negation, one can imagine, tends to develop from... I dunno... emphasis?

I've only heard those kinds of expressions [sp. "entrar para adentro" for instance] uttered by lower-class not too educated people, for some reason. I wonder why that is.

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Post by Mbwa »

Emphasis seems like a likely candidate in English:

I ain't got any vs. I ain't got none

Although stress could also do the trick I think.

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Post by sangi39 »

Didn't older forms of English more often use doubke negatives for emphasis. I remember reading one example while doing my main project in A-Level English Language of examples in both Old and Middle English as well as Early Modern English in literary works. Could it be suggested, then, that the use of double negatives in certain sociolects or dialects is a retention of an older process rather than the development of a new one? Could the disappearance of the double negative be ascribed to the "logical" negative+negative=positive rule described in the 18th Century entering into to speech of the educated elite eventually working it's way down the social ladder as people of lower classes tried to sound "above their rank" by using the language of the upper classes?
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Post by maıráí »

A linguistics professor was lecturing to her class one day. "In English," she said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah . . .right."

Been meaning to post that for half a year.
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Post by TomHChappell »

HelixWitch wrote:
A linguistics professor was lecturing to her class one day. "In English," she said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah . . .right."

Been meaning to post that for half a year.
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Pardon if it's not relevant. x|
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