LINGUIST List 21.2967|
Sun Jul 18 2010
Disc: Refuting the Negative in Conversation/Discourse
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Refuting the Negative in Conversation/Discourse
Message 1: Refuting the Negative in Conversation/Discourse
From: Sherri Condon <scondonmitre.org>
Subject: Refuting the Negative in Conversation/Discourse
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I am submitting this query for a friend/colleague in child development.
He has identified an interesting pattern, and we wonder whether
anyone else has identified/researched it. He called it 'refuting the
negative' and describes it like this:
We ask our young adults to describe, in many ways, their experiences
with adoption, with contact with their birth parents, with friends, etc. -
and so they have many opportunities to make evaluative statements.
Sometimes they make a positive statement by taking a negative and
For example, when asked how they feel about not having contact with
their birth mother, one respondent said 'It doesn't bother me.' They
didn't say 'It's fine' -- rather, they took the negative stance and then
Here are some other examples:
How did you come to this decision (not to seek further information
about your birth father)? 'Never felt the need. I don't feel empty.' (as if
anticipating and negating what she thought would be a response).
When asked to tell a story about the family they grew up in... 'My family
has always treated me and my brother as their children. I have never
felt adopted.' (implying that there is something inherently negative
about 'feeling adopted' - but that doesn't describe him).
Another: 'Since I was adopted when I was so young, I don't feel like I'm
any different from other people.' (as if being adopted is supposed to
mean you are different).
Please reply to my email: scondonmitre.org. I will submit a summary
to the list, if there are responses.
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
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