By Gabriella Mazzon

ISBN-10: 0582381851

ISBN-13: 9780582381858

Negation is without doubt one of the major services in human communication.A background of English Negation is the 1st publication to examine English negation over the total of its documented heritage, utilizing a large database and obtainable terminology.

After an introductory bankruptcy, the publication analyses facts from the total pattern of outdated English records on hand, and from numerous center English and Renaissance files, displaying that the diversity of kinds used at any unmarried degree is wider, and the velocity in their switch significantly swifter, than formerly more often than not assumed.

The publication strikes directly to evaluation present formalised money owed of the placement in sleek English, tracing the adjustments in ideas for expressing negation that experience intervened because the earliest documented historical past of the language. because the average is just one number of a language, it additionally surveys the technique of negation utilized in a few non-standard and dialectal sorts of English. The ebook concludes with a glance at really lately born languages corresponding to Pidgins and Creoles, to enquire the measure of naturalness of the rules that rule the expression of English negation.

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Extra info for A History of English Negation

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The discrepancy between the two sections is further confirmed if we look at the rightmost columns, where we learn that very few cases of avoid­ ance of incorporation concern words other than verbs. The vast majority of cases of avoidance of contraction thus concerns verbal forms, and actually slightly more so in the south and in 'native' texts. This shows how unstable the system of incorporated verb forms was, which had seemed so healthy when we looked at the previous figures. By contrast, Neg-Incorporated adverbs and quantifers, which are less frequent in the sample as for number of occurrences, appear more stable in that it is only quite rarely that the spelling shows failure of incorporation with an adjacent ne: the latter forms thus appear on their way towards lexicalization, while the incorporated verb-forms, though currently used, already show signs of decline.

Ac . . (S. 20) 'nothing against God's command you do, but . . ' The element that emerges clearly is the multiplicity and diversity of inher­ ently negative forms that existed in OE and Early ME; it was impossible to take all variant forms into account here, but an idea of the size of the inventory of these forms can be had by looking at the relevant Appendix. Most of these negative words disappeared later, or several variants were reduced to a single form; the vast majority of them were obtained through the process of Neg-Incorporation, to which the next subsection is devoted.

This occurrence is thus not naht as a quantifier but n- + V, a totally different negative pattern. 2. 1 . Negation in prose and poetry The main difference between OE prose texts and poetry as regards negation is that 'less cumulation' of negations is found in poetry, where single, not multiple negation is preferred (Mitchell 1985: vol. ). In assessing this and other differences, we refer both to our sample and to Bessinger's (1978) Concordance, which is more useful in this case, given that the Segments composing our sample often include both types of text.

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