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Summary Details


Query:   For Query: 10.1587 Negation in French
Author:  Misako Kitamoto
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Syntax

Summary:   FOR QUERY LINGUIST LIST 10.1587 NEGATION IN FRENCH

DEAR LINGUISTS,

ABOUT A MONTH AGO, I SENT A QUERY TO THE LINGUISTS ASKING NATIVE SPEAKERS OF FRENCH TO MAKE INTERPRETATION ON SENTENCES INVOLVING SINGLE NEGATION AND DOUBLE NEGATION. I'M AMAZED BY MANY RESPONSES. I RECEIVED A GREAT DEAL OF USEFUL INFORMATION FROM MANY PEOPLE NAMED BELOW. IN PARTICULAR, THANKS TO GILLES BERNARD FOR THOUGHTFUL INTERPRETATIONS, DAVID GAATONE, AURELIEN MAX, JOHN REIGHARD FOR HELPFUL CONTEXTS, DE BRABANTER PHILIPPE, SYLVAIN
KAHANE, GEORGES REBUSCHI, MARIE-LUCIE TARPENT, REMY VIREDAZ FOR FRENCH INTONATION OR ACCENTUATION TO DISTINGUISH AMBIGUITY AND NEIL COFFEY, EDDY GAYTAN, PIERRE LARRIVEE, URI STRAUSS FOR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH.

I AM VERY GRATEFUL TO EVERYBODY WHO REPLIED:
GILLES BERNARD
ROGER BILLEREY
NEIL COFFEY
CELIA COLMERAUER
DE BRABANTER PHILIPPE
DAVID GAATONE
JOCELYN GAGNON
EDDY GAYTAN
PIERRE LARRIVEE
SYLVAIN KAHANE
PATRICK-ANDR MATHER
AURELIEN MAX
PHILIPPE MENNECIER
DOMINIQUE NOUVEAU
ROBERT PAPEN
MONTSERRAT PEREZ-PARENT
THIERRY POIBEAU
GEORGES REBUSCHI
JOHN REIGHARD
MARTINE SMETS
URI STRAUSS
MARIE-LUCIE TARPENT
ALAIN THERIAULT
BRIAN ULICNY
REMY VIREDAZ
JIM WALKER

HERE ARE THE ORIGINAL EXAMPLE AND QUESTIONS.

(1) PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE.

MY QUESTION IS :
IS (1) INTERPRETED AS SINGLE NEGATION OR DOUBLE NEGATION (TWO NEGATIVE ARGUMENTS CANCEL EACH OTHER, IMPLYING AFFIRMATIVE SENTENCE)?

IF IT IS INTERPRETED AS SINGLE NEGATION, IT WILL BE PARAPHRASED AS (A) NOBODY LOVES ANYBODY.

IF IT IS INTERPRETED AS DOUBLE NEGATION, IT WILL BE PARAPHRASED AS (B)NOBODY LOVES NOBODY. = SOMEBODY LOVES SOMEBODY.

DOES FOCUS DISTINGUISH SINGLE NEGATION OR DOUBLE NEGATION?

THE SUMMARY OF RESPONSES OF 26 SPEAKERS ARE THE FOLLOWINGS.

18 SPEAKERS GET (A) INTERPRETATION. 4 SPEAKERS GET INTERPRETATION (B). (PAIR LIST READING: MARY LOVES BOB. TOM LOVES ANN.........) BUT 19 SPEAKERS GIVE (UNSPECIFIC) INTERPRETATION (C) BELOW, RATHER THAN (B) AS DOUBLE NEGATION.

(C) EVERYBODY LOVES SSOMEBODY.

12 SPEAKERS GET BOTH (A) AND (C) INTERPRETATIONS. 6 SPEAKERS' RESPONSE IS (A) INTERPRETATION. 7 SPEAKERS' RESPONSE IS (C) INTERPRETATION. 1 SPEAKER'S RESPONSE IS (B) INTERPRETATION. 2 SPEAKERS' RESPONSE IS (A) AND (B). 1 SPEAKER'S RESPONSES (A), (B), AND (C).

SOME SPEAKERS GIVE A CONTEXT FOR EACH INTERPRETATION AS THE FOLLOWINGS.
GILLES BERNARD: (A) ''ICI, PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE''
DAVID GAATONE: (A) ''DANS CETTE FAMILLE PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE''
(C) ''IL Y A DES GENS QUI N'AIMENT PERSONNE. MAIS NON, PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE.''
AURELIEN MAX: (A) DISENCHANTED STATEMENT ON LIFE IN GENERAL.
JOHN REIGHHARD: (A)--LES GENS S'ENTENDENT BIEN ICI?
--PAS DU TOUT! PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE!
(C)--UN MISANTHROPE, C'EST QUELQU'UN QUI N'AIME PERSONNE.
-- MAIS PERSONNE N'AIME PERSONNE!
REMY VIREDAZ: (A) THE SITUATION IS TERRIBLE SAD.
(C) IN REPLY TO A SENTENCE THAT WAS FELT TO IMPLY THAT SOME PEOPLE DON'T LOVE ANYBODY.

MY ANOTHER QUESTION IS (REPEATED HERE) :
DOES FOCUS DISTINGUISH SINGLE NEGATION OR DOUBLE NEGATION?

THE ANSWERS FOR DISTINCTION AMONG (A) (B) (C) ARE:(EACH COMMENT IS GIVEN
BY ONE SPEAKER.)

(A) NEEDS NORMAL INTONATION.
(A) REQUIRES SYMMETRICAL EMPHASIS ON BOTH 'PERSONNE'.
(B) AN ACCENT ON THE FIRST 'PERSONNE'
(GILLES BERNARD GAVE THE FOLLOWING :''I CAN'T ABSOLUTELY EXCLUDE THE SECOND MEANING (SOMEBODY LOVES SOMEBODY), BUT IT NEEDS A SPECIAL PROSODY, WITH AN ACCENT ON THE FIRST ''PERSONNE'', AND EVEN THEN,IT LOOKS TO ME AN (ARTIFICIAL) LOGICAL PROPOSITION, THE TRANSLATION OF SOME FORMULA. HOWEVER, THIS MEANING HAS TO BE TRANSLATED BY LOVE AND NOT BY LIKE; I THINK THE DIFFERENCE IS ABOUT THE ''FACT'' THAT LOVE IS A ONE TO ONE RELATIONSHIP,
WHILE LIKE IS A ONE TO MANY RELATIONSHIP.'' )
(C) REQUIRES FOCUS STRESS ON THE SUBJECT 'PERSONNE'. (2 SPEAKERS)
(C) REQUIRES HIGH FALL ON THE SYLLABLE''-SONNE'' IN THE FIRST OCCURRENCE OF 'PERSONNE'.
(C) REQUIRES HEAVY STRESS ON THE SECOND 'PERSONNE'.
(C) NEEDS A PAUSE AFTER 'PERSONNE': PERSONNE#N'AIME PERSONNE. SYLVAIN KAHANE GAVE VERY KINDFUL ANOTHER EXAMPLE:
A) PERSONNE NE PARLE A PERSONNE
'NEG(SOMEBODY SPEAKS TO SOMEBODY)'
B)PERSONNE # NE PARLE A PERSONNE
'EVERYBODY SPEAKS TO SOMEBODY'
C)A PERSONNE # PERSONNE NE PARLE
'TO EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY SPEAKS'

I WILL FORWARD THE ORIGINAL ANSWERS ON REQUEST. ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU TO ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED SPEAKERS FOR THEIR HELP. A DRAFT OF A PAPER MAKING USE OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS NOW BEING WRITTEN. I WILL SEND THE PAPER TO ANYONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN IT. COMMENTS WELCOME.

BEST WISHES,

MS. MISAKO KITAMOTO
E-MAIL: KITAMOTO@MED.KEIO.AC.JP

LL Issue: 10.1799
Date Posted: 25-Nov-1999
Original Query: Read original query