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Query Details

Query Subject:   Emphatic embracing negation
Author:   Hilary Barnes
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  General Linguistics

Query:   Non-canonical or emphatic negation, as exemplified in (1), implies a
correction on the hearer’s presuppositions that something happened when it,
in fact, did NOT happen.

(1) I did NOT see Mary.
English uses a special intonation to add this meaning. Other languages
(some dialects of Spanish, Catalan and Veneto, among others) use embracing
negation, which consists of the repetition of the negative marker at the
end of the clause. Consider the following examples in Spanish, Veneto and

(2) Spanish: embracing negation
No lo vi no.
NEG it see.1SG.PRET. NEG
“I did NOT see it.”

(3) Veneto: embracing negation
No só a qué ora que i
neg know-1sg at what time that SCL-3pl
nda vía no.
go-3pl there neg

“I do NOT know what time they are going.”
(4) Catalan: embracing negation
No l’ he vist no, a la meva
neg cl.3sg. see 1sg.pres.pft. neg. to the mygermana. sister

“I have NOT seen my sister.”
The repetition of the negative marker at the end (embracing negation) is
used to convey the meaning of a non-canonical negation. We are interested
in the extension of this phenomenon as well as its development. Thus, we
would like to know:
(a) the languages where this structure is present,
(b) the meaning of this structure; is it emphatic ?,
(c) the possibility of omitting the first negative marker,
(d) if the language is in contact with any other language.
LL Issue: 18.1143
Date posted: 15-Apr-2007


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