Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

Discussion Details

Title: Refuting the Negative in Conversation/Discourse
Submitter: Sherri Condon
Description: 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
refuting it.

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
refuted it.

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: scondon@mitre.org. I will submit a summary
to the list, if there are responses.

Sherri Condon
Date Posted: 18-Jul-2010
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
LL Issue: 21.2967
Posted: 18-Jul-2010

Search Again

Back to Discussions Index