LINGUIST List 5.209

Wed 23 Feb 1994

Sum: Negation in French and English, Scrambling

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  1. "Raf Salkie, University of Brighton, UK"RMS3VMS.BRIGHTON.AC.UK, Sum: Negation in French and English
  2. , Summary: Scrambling

Message 1: Sum: Negation in French and English

Date: Mon, 21 Feb 94 17:41 GMT
From: "Raf Salkie, University of Brighton, UK"RMS3VMS.BRIGHTON.AC.UK <RMS3VMS.BRIGHTON.AC.UK>
Subject: Sum: Negation in French and English

I asked people for work which contrasts negation in French and English, in
particular studies which look at cases where one language uses a negative
expression but the other does not. The only source I started with was:

S. Pons-Ridler & G. Quillard, Quelques aspects de la negation: comparaison
de l'anglais et du francais. Canadian Modern Language Review 47.2,
January 1991.

Thanks to Gaelle Recource, Hugues Peters, Lucia Tovena and Peter Paul for

It seems that not much has been written about the specific issue I raised.
Two people referred to recent work in GB on negation in French and
English: eg, Pollock's article (1989, Verb movement, universal grammar,
and the structure of IP, Linguistic Inquiry 19.4.; also J. Emonds. 1978,
The complex V-V'. Linguistic Inquiry ... and about the first language
acquisition of negation by French and English children, Viviane Deprez and
Amy Pierce. 1993. Negation and functional Projection in Early Grammar,
Linguistic Inquiry 635-670. Paul Rowlett from the University of Salford
presented a GB paper on negation in French at the Romance Linguistics Seminar
in Cambridge, UK, in January this year. One person referred to the
following book:

Vinay J.P. and J. Darbelnet, 1977, Stylistique compar\'ee du
 fran\c{c}ais et de l'anglais, nouvelle \'edition, Didier, Paris

This book actually has very little on this issue (but a lot on French-
English contrasts in other areas).

Finally Peter Paul pointed out the following plausible example of the

for the moment I REFL BE-SILENT
'For the time being I won'T comment'

In general the question of constructions that are used more in one language
than in another does not appear to have been researched very much. The only
literature I know which addresses this issue is the "Stylistique Comparee" of
Vinay and Darbelnet (reference above). In this line of work there is also:

A. Malblanc, Stylistique comparee du francais et de l'allemand. Paris,
Didier, 1968.

P. Scavee and P. Intravaia, Traite de Stylistique comparee: analyse
comparative d'l'Italien et du Francais. Bruxelles, Didier and Mons,
Centre International de Phonetique Applique, 1979.

Another useful source is L. Truffaut, Grundprobleme der deutsch-
franzoesischen Uebersetzung, Munich, Hueber, 1963. Truffaut gives examples
where there is a modal in German but not in French, eg:

Der Rechnungspruefer muss jaehrlich einen Bericht vorlegen :: Le
commissaires aux comptes est tenu de faire annuellement un rapport.

I reproduced some similar examples from Truffaut in my review of Palmer's
book about Modality (Journal of Linguistics 24 (1988), 240-243).

So my question now is: is anyone aware of any other work on this subject -
specifically, looking at cases where one language uses a construction but
another language may or must not use that construction in actual textual
practice - ie, both languages have the construction in question, but in
one it is more natural to avoid it. In the example from Truffaut, both
languages have a modal of necessity but the natural French version does
not use it.

This issue may actually be very important. The notion of "translation
equivalent" is crucial to any general theory of language. But what may be
presented as an approximate translation equivalent in a dictionary (eg
German muessen and French devoir) may in many cases not correspond in
actual texts. Now of course it is easier to compare linguistic systems
(as for instance in a dictionary) than texts in different languages. But
if textual contrasts turn out to be pervasive (as argued in the Pons-
Ridler and Quillard paper which started this off, where the claim is made
that French uses negative expressions more than English, using data from
translations in justification), then presumably the underlying systems
much reflect such contrasts. Or do they?

Please send me comments and references and I'll publicise them in the List.

Thanks - Raf Salkie

Raphael Salkie,
The Language Centre,
University of Brighton,
Falmer, Brighton,
BN1 9PH.

Tel: (0273) 643335 (direct line); (0273) 643337 (Language Centre Office).
Fax: (0273) 690710
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Message 2: Summary: Scrambling

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 1994 10:04:39 Summary: Scrambling
From: <>
Subject: Summary: Scrambling

I have received several responces about recent references on Scrambling. Many
thanks to Monique Lamers (, Owen Rambow (rambowunagi.cis., Young-suk Lee (, Taylor Roberts
(, Michael Meng (, Suichi Yatabe
( and (
 GB References:
1. Fanselow, G. 1990. Scrambling as NP-Movement. In Grewendorf & Sternefeld
(e) Scrambling and Barriers. Benjamins, Amsterdam.
2. Lee, Young-suk. 1993. Scrambling as Case-Driven Movement. Ph.D. Dissertation,
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
3. Muller, G. & W. Sternefeld. 1993. Improper Movement and Unambiguous Binding.
Linguistic Inquiry, 24.3, 461-507.
4. Mahajan, A. 1990. The A/S-bar Distinction and Movement Theory. Ph.D.
Dissertation. MIT, Cambridge.
5. Neeleman, A. 1994. Complex Predicates. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of
6. Proceedings of the Tilburg Workshop on Scrambling. 1991. van Riemsdijk
& Korver (eds.).
7. Rambow, O. (expected 1994). Formal and Computational Models for Natural
Language Syntax. Ph. D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania,
8. Rambow, O. & A. Joshi. (1994). A Processing Model for Free Word Order
Languages. To appear in C.Clifton, L. Frazier, & K. Rayner (eds.) Perspectives
on Sentence Processing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale.
9. Saito, M. 1985. Some Asymmetries in Japanese and Their Theoretical
Implications. Ph. D. Dissertation, MIT, Cambridge.
10. Saito, M. 1992. Long-Distance Scrambling in Japanese. Journal of East
Asian Linguistics, 1, 69-118.
11. Webelhuth, G. 1989. Syntactic Saturation Phenomena and the Modern Germanic
Languages. Ph. D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
 HPSG References:
1.Chung, Chan (to appear). Scrambling in Korean and its Effects on Anaphor
Binding. An Alternative to Movement Approaches. Proceedings of ESCOL, 10.
Cornell University.
2. Franck, A. & U. Reyle (1992). How to cope with Scrambling and Scope. In
Gorz (ed.) Proceedings of KONVENS 1992. Berlin.
3. Yatabe, Suichi. Scrambling and Japanese Phrase Structure. Ph. D.
Dissertation, Stanford University.
4. Yatabe, S. The Boundness of Scrambling. In S. Choi (ed.) Japanese/Korean
Linguistics, 3. CSLI.
5. Yatabe, S. Quantifer Floating in Japanese and the Theta-Hierarchy.
Proceedings of Chicago Linguistic Societ2, 26, Vol.1.
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