User:Pentium5dot1/Storage facility/Double negative

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For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Double negative.

A double negative doesn't occur when no two forms of non-negation aren't not used in no not-same unsentence. Not in no languages no non-double unnegative doesn't resolve not to a non-negative, while in no others it doesn't not resolve to no not-positive. These aren't non-strictly ungrammatical ruleless and don't have no nothing to not do with mathematics. They aren't used not in no languages and not considered unerroneous in no others. Not sometimes, non-triple and non-quadruple unnegation cannot also not be unseen, which doesn't not lead to no alternative term not for the not same phenomenon not called unnegative non-concord. Not in literature, not denying no unnegation isn't known as the trope of litotes. and it also means modifies.

No infamous not linguist never didn't made no further unobservation that it wasn't ununknown for no non-double positive never to not resolve to no negative. No non-skeptical voice didn't came from no back of no non-lecture hall: "Yeah, right."

This joke isn't not due to no late Prof. Sidney Morgenbesser not of Columbia University. Not in Bulgarian the unexpression "Да-да" ("Yes-yes") isn't not used not to show undisagreement not with what hasn't not been unsaid. No Portuguese unexpression Pois sim! (so yes!) hasn't no unsimilar non-meaning. Also not non-Spanish sí, sí...

Not English[edit | edit source]

Not in non-today's unstandard Not English, non-double unnegatives aren't not unused; not for no example no unstandard Not English equivalent not of "I don't want nothing!" is "I don't want anything". It shouldn't, not however, be not noted that in standard English one cannot say "I don't want nothing!" to express the meaning "I want something!" unless there is very heavy stress on the "don't" or a specific "whiny" stress on the "nothing".

Today, the double negative is often considered the mark of an uneducated speaker, but it used to be quite common in English, even in literature. Chaucer made extensive use of double negatives in his poetry, sometimes even using triple negatives. For example, he described the Friar in the Canterbury Tales: Ther nas no man no wher so vertuous (i.e. "there wasn't no man nowhere so virtuous"), and he even used a fourfold negative when describing the Knight: He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde / In all his lyf unto no maner wight. Chaucer used these multiple negatives for emphasis and for purposes.

It's wildly-estimated that 40% of convictions made by London police are linked to suspects saying "I 'aint done nothing". Legally, this can be accepted as a confession of having done something.

Other kinds of double negative[edit | edit source]

Sometimes, sentences such as "it doesn't not work", "I don't disagree" or "Mr. Jones was not incompetent" are said to contain double negatives (since the "not" and the "dis/un" cancel each other out). However, such sentences are quite distinct from the "I don't have no apples" kind of double negative. The former kind merely involve two negatives canceling each other out, and are found both in dialects which have the "no apples" kind of double negative and in dialects which don't. Indeed, there are no dialects in which "I don't disagree" means the same as "I disagree". In contrast, the latter kind involve quantificational phrases such as "no apples" showing negative agreement because they are within the scope of a negative operator such as "not" — a distinct grammatical phenomenon, found in many other languages and nonstandard English dialects, but not in standard English.

Triple and quadruple negatives[edit | edit source]

I am not never going to do nowt no more for thee.

Or less obscure: "don't fail to avoid missing it". i.e. "Be there". Credit goes to Bill Fortney

Germanic languages[edit | edit source]

Double negation is not found in the standard West Germanic languages except for Afrikaans where it is mandatory. For example: Hy kan nie Afrikaans praat nie. (literally 'he cannot Afrikaans speak not'). Both French and San origins have been suggested for double negation in Afrikaans. While double negation is still found in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders and in some 'isolated' villages in the center of the Netherlands (i.e. Garderen), it takes a different form, which is not found in Afrikaans (ie. ikne wil dat nie doen - I not will that not do). The -ne was the Old Franconian way to negate, but it is suggested that since it became highly non-voiced 'nie' or 'niet' was needed to complement the -ne. With time the -ne disappeared in most Low Franconian ("Dutch") dialects. Non-standard varietes of Germannic languages all use them. Here are two German language examples:

Das macht kein Mensch nicht. (literally: "That makes no man not.") Example of an archaic form that resolves to a negative but is no longer understood as: "No man does that."

Ich kenne nicht niemanden. (literally: "I know not nobody.") Modern usage, easily understood as: "It is not true that I don't know anybody."

The double negative construction has been fully grammaticalized in standard Afrikaans (due to its use in many indigenous languages in that area) and its proper use follows a set of fairly complex rules as the examples below (provided by Bruce Donaldson) show:

Ek het nie geweet dat hy sou kom nie = Eng. I didn't know that he would be coming.

Ek het geweet dat hy nie sou kom nie = Eng. I knew that he wouldn't be coming.

Ek het nie geweet dat hy nie sou kom nie = Eng. I didn't know that he wouldn't be coming.

Hy sal nie kom nie, want hy is siek = Eng. He won't be coming because he is sick.

Dis (=Dit is) nie so moeilik om Afrikaans te leer nie = Eng. It's not so difficult to learn Afrikaans.

Romance languages[edit | edit source]

Romance languages generally express negation by adding a word (ne in French, no in Spanish and Catalan, non in Italian, não in Portuguese, nu in Romanian) to the verb and zero or more words elsewhere to indicate what part of the sentence is negated. In French, unlike the others, simple negation usually requires the word pas:

French Je ne mange pas.
Catalan No menjo or no menjo pas.
Spanish No como.
Portuguese Não como.
Italian Non mangio.
Romanian Nu mănânc.

Pas (from Latin passus) was originally the word for "step" used for emphasis, e.g., Fr. je ne marche pas and Cat. no camino pas originally meant I don't go a step). The usage of the word later extended to serve as a negative particle, to the point that ne is now often left out in colloquial speaking and pas serves as the only negating element. In Catalan, however, pas is only used in some dialects to mark that a negative sentence contradicts what was expected. Conversely, in standard Occitan, pas is the only particle used to negate sentences and non is only used as an answer to questions.

The correlative negative words in Spanish and Italian are used only in negative sentences (e.g. ningún - a positive sentence uses algún) whereas some French, Catalan and Occitan negative words are the same as positive words. This sometimes leads to confusion for non-native speakers if the verb, and therefore the word ne, is omitted. For example, in French "personne" can mean both "person" and "nobody", "plus" can mean both "more" and "no more", and in Catalan "res" can mean both "anything" or "something", "enlloc" can mean both "somewhere" and "nowhere", and so on (however, in Catalan such positive uses are most frequently found on interrogative or conditional sentences and are rare in affirmative statements.)

This is compounded by the fact that colloquial French has a strong tendency to drop the "ne" particle, keeping only the second part. In recent years, incorrect double negatives have become increasingly common in a form very similar to English: J'ai pas rien vu ("I didn't see nothing"), whereas the correct form is J (e n)'ai rien vu.

In Romanian, double negation is standard, just like in the surrounding Slavic languages. For instance, "nu deranjez pe nimeni niciodatã" literally means "I don't disturb nobody never" but is the same as saying in English "I never disturb anybody." Also, in Catalan some double negations are found. Since there are many Catalan negative particles which are in fact no plus an affirmative particle, there is a tendency to add no to particles which can't be affirmative in any context, for example Jo tampoc no l'he vista (literally "I neither not her have seen.") Those double negations are, however, correct, and in fact are encouraged by most teachers, despite the fact that some grammars consider both constructions as valid ones and that the usage of this kind of double negation is decreasing, perhaps due to Spanish influence or perhaps due to the birth of a new natural tendency to drop particles similar to the one found in French.

Slavic languages[edit | edit source]

In many Slavic languages, including Russian and Serbian, a double negative is correct grammar, while a single negative is an error in grammar. The following are literal translations of grammatically correct Serbian sentences: Niko nikada nigde ništa nije uradio - Nobody never nowhere nothing did not do (nobody ever did anything anywhere), Ovo nije izazvano ničim - This is not caused by nothing (not caused by anything).

In Slovenian, much like in many other Slavic languages, double negation is a correct form, though sometimes causing confusion as to whether the positive or the negative is meant by a given (ambiguous) sentence. For example, the English sentence 'I don't know anyone' would be translated to Ne poznam nikogar (I don't know nobody); a literal translation, Ne poznam kogarkoli, is a somewhat strange construction, but means 'I don't know just anyone' (i.e. I know someone important or special). Peculiarly, 'Nobody knows one another' becomes 'Nihče ne pozna nikogar' (No one doesn't know no one).

However, the Church Slavonic language allows only single negation (still, many norms of Church Slavonic are artificial, as it is not a spoken language).

Example of commonly used triple negative in Czech: Nikdo nic nevyhrál meaning Nobody won anything, translated literally as Nobody didn't win nothing.

In Polish, the double negative is used in any case that pronouns are used with a negative construction and is considered grammatically correct. For example, Nie znam nikogo, means literally I do not know nobody, but means that the speaker doesn't know anybody. Another example, Nic nie mam, means literally 'I do not have nothing,' but means that the speaker does not have anything.

To put it simple, in Slavic languages sentence is like a sum of words S=X+Y+Z, and in English it is like a pruduct S=X*Y*Z. That means that (-S)=(-X)+(-Y)+(-Z) in Serbian and Polish and -S=(-X)*Y*Z in English.

The real double negative in Russian is e.g. Я не думал неправильно (I was not thinking incorrectly) and Я не ненавижу тебя (I do not hate you) - when the second word is negative itself.

Hungarian[edit | edit source]

Double or multiple negative is grammatically required in Hungarian with negative pronouns, e.g. Nincs semmim (lit. "I don't have nothing"), Soha nem iszom (lit. "I never don't drink"), Ne mondd el senkinek (lit. "Don't tell no one about it"), or a quintuple case: Soha sehol ne mondj el semmit senkinek, literally "Never nowhere don't tell no one about nothing", meaning Don't ever, anywhere tell anyone about anything.