A History of English Negation by Gabriella Mazzon

By Gabriella Mazzon

Negation is among the major services in human communication.A heritage of English Negation is the 1st publication to examine English negation over the entire of its documented background, utilizing a large database and obtainable terminology.

After an introductory bankruptcy, the ebook analyses facts from the full pattern of outdated English records on hand, and from numerous center English and Renaissance files, exhibiting that the variety of varieties used at any unmarried degree is wider, and the speed in their swap significantly speedier, than formerly generally assumed.

The ebook strikes directly to evaluate present formalised bills of the location in glossy English, tracing the alterations in ideas for expressing negation that experience intervened because the earliest documented heritage of the language. because the commonplace is just one number of a language, it additionally surveys the technique of negation utilized in a few non-standard and dialectal forms of English. The e-book concludes with a glance at quite lately born languages similar to Pidgins and Creoles, to enquire the measure of naturalness of the rules that rule the expression of English negation.

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Although remnants are to be found much later than that, and even in Shakespeare's plays. ), but it cannot be maintained that the practice enjoyed much vitality in their times: they prob­ ably only hastened the disappearance of these relics from the standard. It is important to notice that purist battles against language uses are not often effective, since they only sanction, more often than not, what is already a tendency of the language; the grammarians' position is relevant for us only to point out how persistent language prejudice is, to the extent that stigma is still attached to those varieties of English which now use multiple nega­ tion (see Chapter 5).

E. that of post-verbal negation, while the position of English is more ambiguous: some scholars maintain that it is also NEG3, though of a rather special type; others claim that English has completed its cycle and is now therefore back at the NEGl stage again. In any case, it is interesting to note that if we look at the past stages of English negation from a typological perspective, the claim for consistency with 'basic' word-order seems to fail; as Labrum (1982: 90-2) notices, nega­ tion has always seemed to be in the 'wrong' place with respect to word­ order: pre-verbal when the language was mainly SOV, post-verbal when it became SVO.

Iliche mihtige, nan lcesse pene ooer (S. 12) 'equally powerful, not-one less than the other' (41) . . pcet heo habbcep ongin & nC£nne ende (S. 12) 'that they have beginning and no end' (42) NC£nig minum yflum me gefultumao (S. 20) 'none with my evils [miseries] me helps' (43) Nanwiht wio Codes bebodu pu do. 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.

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