On 2012-11-20 16:14, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
> On 20 November 2012 15:52, Charles W Brickner <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> I am reminded of a similar use of the negative by young people that we hear
>> in the US now.  "I'm going to the store.  Not!"
> Still feels awkward in English IMHO. The Japanese have it easy here :P .
>> One of the books I recently "sold" to a list member (of course, I forget
>> the
>> title!) discussed the need we have to keep finding new ways to emphasize
>> the
>> negative: not at all, no way, not on your life.   This is the origin, he
>> says, of the "pas" in French; merely adding "step" to emphasize the
>> negative.
> Exactly. Originally, it just meant "step" (as it still means when used as a
> noun) and was restricted to verbs of movement: "je ne viens pas": "I come
> not a step". Other types of verbs had other negative intensifiers. But
> somehow they all disappeared (except "point": "dot", which was still
> actively used in writing until the beginning of the 20th century, and is
> still passively known by people, although actually using it would sound
> ridiculously archaic) and "pas" was extended to use in all cases.
> I do exactly the same thing in my Narbonese, which also has double
> negations, with the following differences from French:
> - "Ne" (which happens to be identical to the French, both in spelling and
> pronunciation) is still used in speech (and can actually be emphasised as
> "nõ": "not at all"), although it can sometimes be omitted;
> - There are various negative intensifiers, depending on the semantics of
> the verb. "Pas" in Narbonese is still restricted to verbs of movement,
> while verbs of speech have "palavre" ("word"). The most generic negative
> intensifier, though, is "reim", from Latin "res": thing.

Wow, this has actually turned into a discussion of conlangs!

My Rhodrese has opted for _puntx_ as the catchall
intensifier even to the point ;-) that the original
diminutive _peuntxí_ has taken over as the noun for
'dot'. Like French it likes to leave out the _no_ /nʊ/,
except when it's emphasized _nó_ /ˈnɔ/ and with
_havair_ and vowel-initial forms of _estre_ used as
unstressed auxiliaries, so that you say _el es puntx
vriaç_ /ɪl ˌɛs ˈpuntʃ ˈvʁjas/ but _el n'es puntx
arriviad_ /ˌɪnɪsˈpuntʃ aʁɪˈvjat/. OTOH _tu say puntx
vriaç_ and _tu say puntx arriviad_ (although it would
probably be rude or awkward to say the latter except as
a question! :-) BTW the negation of the equivalent of
_est ce que_ is entirely different in written Rhodrese
_Es txes che_ -> _Es txes no puntx che_ and spoken Rhodrese
_tx'es che (puntx)_ where /tʃɛskɪ/ is a fully
univerbated question particle. Rhodrese scholars still
debate whether it's really a contraction of _txes es
che_ (_txes es_ -> _tx'es_ is entirely normal) or
really from _Es txes che_ via _'s txes che_. Writers
of comics and modernist literature find it more
important to distinguish between _tx'es che jo diç_
/ˈtʃɛskɪ dʒʊ ˈdis/ 'am I saying...' and _txes che jo
diç_ /tʃɪs ˌkɛ dʒʊ ˈdis/ 'what I'm saying...'.


> As for why, it seems that polarity is a big deal to people (who would have
> thought? ;) ), so as soon as it threatens to disappear, people innovate
> ways to keep it intact. That's also why it's often asymmetric in various
> languages, so as to keep it as salient as possible.