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En réponse à Matt McLauchlin <[log in to unmask]>:

> >They are not double negative constructions, simply negation is split in
> two
> >parts in French. Really 'pas', 'jamais', 'rien' had originally an
> >affirmative
> >meaning (and sometimes still have, ex: Avez-vous *jamais* vu ça? Did
> you
> >*ever*
> >see that?). They are taking now the negative meaning only when "ne" is
> not
> >around (and it usually disappears in speech because it's not stressed,
> >unlike
> >the other part of the negation. That's also why a second part appeared
> >originally).
>
> Sorry; while this was true initially I don't think it's the case any
> longer
> in spoken French.
>

Sorry to disagree, but what I was describing in my post was *my* way of speaking
French (as a native coming from Normandie) where "ne... pas" can still not be
considered double negative.

> For example, in vernacular French "ne" is almost always deleted: "J'ai
> jamais vu ça". And also: "As-tu vu ça?" "Jamais." You can even have
> double
> negation with no "ne": "Y'en a plus rien".
>

I already explained that I considered that when "ne" is omitted (often, I
agree), the negative meaning is transferred to words like "jamais" and "rien".
But by themselves they are not negative, as you can see in sentences like "as-tu
*jamais* vu ça ?": "did you *ever* see that?" or "il pleut *rien* !": "it rains
*a lot*!" (like it's doing right now :) ), kinds of sentences that I use quite
often in my spoken French (without being frowned upon or misunderstood). The
fact that they are negative in sentences like "As-tu vu ça ?" "Jamais" comes
more from an underlying "non" then from "jamais" itself in my opinion. At least
that's how I see it in my dialect. I cannot tell from other dialects, and
especially not from Canadian French. Finally, my explanation makes sentences
like "y'a plus rien" (I would never say "y'en a plus rien", the 'en' seems to
much for me) simple negations instead of double, which is in my opinion more
consistent, but again this holds only for my dialect of French.

> It's gotten to the point that the word "plus" has split into two
> pronunciations: /plys/ meaning "more", /ply/ or (especially Quebec) /py/
> meaning "no more".
>

agreed, except that even the pronunciation /ply/ has an affirmative meaning when
it forms comparative of adjectives. /plys grã/ doesn't sound right to me.

> Conversely, sometimes "ne" can appear on its own: "Je n'admets qu'on
> ménace
> mes résolutions" (Mylène Farmer).
>

This is true only in written French (and songs of Mylène Farmer are a good
example of written French in my opinion. The high language she uses in her songs
is one of the facts that makes me like her a lot).

> It's true that in proper written French the "ne" isn't omitted, but I
> shouldn't have to explain that that's prescriptive and not descriptive
> grammar. So it started off as being a split negation, but isn't any
> longer.
>

I would say that it's in the middle of the transition. Maybe you can say it's
not a split negation anymore, but I disagree that it would be a double negation.
And what I said was only descriptive, because, as I will repeat again and again,
I was only describing *my* French.

Christophe.