LINGUIST List 12.1662

Mon Jun 25 2001

Qs: English Double Negative,Language Assessment

Editor for this issue: James Yuells <>

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  1. Jo Tyler, Evidence of Double Negative as an Emphatic
  2. Lynell R. Williams, Tool for Language Assessment

Message 1: Evidence of Double Negative as an Emphatic

Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 07:50:06 -0400
From: Jo Tyler <>
Subject: Evidence of Double Negative as an Emphatic

Dear Linguists,

I have occasionally heard claims that the English double negative is
emphatic, both in Old/Middle English and in modern nonstandard varieties.
However, I have never found any supporting argumentation or data accompanyi
ng these claims.

If a double negative is "emphatic" it seems that there should be systematic
 alternation in discourse with a "nonemphatic" (single negative) form. On 
the other hand, as I suspect, the double negative might just be a variant
of the standard negative-with-polarity item.

Does anyone know of studies that support or refute the "emphatic" 
description of double negatives, either in Old/Middle English or in modern
nonstandard varieties?

I will post a summary if warranted. Thanks in advance.

Jo Tyler
Assistant Professor
Center for Graduate and Professional Studies
Mary Washington College
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
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Message 2: Tool for Language Assessment

Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 15:12:04 -0600
From: Lynell R. Williams <>
Subject: Tool for Language Assessment

I am preparing to conduct my M.A. thesis research involving changes in
L1 casual speech when children enter school in L2. The population
involved in the present study is in the USA, L1 Spanish/L2 English, and
I hope to conduct a companion study within the next year or two in Spain
with L1 Basque/L2 Spanish. I am looking for a tool to measure
proficiency/mastery of both L1 and L2 for the children in the study and
members of their households. I have previous exposure to such a tool
(Language Assessment Scales, or LAS) used in the public schools to
assess language ability in migrant children entering the system. I do
not know if this tool is still considered valid or current, nor do I
know how to obtain it. Would those of you with experience using such
tools please offer your recommendations and the purchase information if
possible? I thank you in advance for your assistance.
Lynell R. Williams
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