Terttu Nevalainen

VARIENG Research UnitUniversity of Manchester

University of Helsinki13 November 2007

Historical sociolinguistics meets typology: negative concord in 18th-century English

Negative concord (multiple negation)

(1) +mn

Sister Joanna is very well an gives her Cind love to you she is at Mr Biling still But I Belive she will not Stay no longer then her year she sais it is to littel wages she has but 50 shilings a year (Elizabeth Clift, 1794; Clift, 98)

Negation with non-assertive forms

(2) -mn

The humour the child has does not always appear to any great degree and then the poor thing is very bad in its health but it is always out more or less and it has lost almost all of its teeth. (Juliana Dodd, 1761; Foundling, 122)

Single and multiple negation in the same context

(3a) -mn

I understand there is nothing alowed from the hospital to any inspector, and likewise I have no regulations in no respect for to go by. (James Kenting, 1759; Foundling, 54)

(3b) +mn

I understand there is nothing alowed from the hospital to any inspector, and likewise I have no regulations in no respect for to go by. (James Kenting, 1759; Foundling, 54)

Additive-correlative constructions

(4) +mn/coordinate

I have not hard from Brother thomas since Febuary 94 Nor I have not hard Nothing of Poor Brother Robert since (Elizabeth Clift, 1795; Clift, 106)

(5) -mn/coordinate

he told me that you was very well when he left home but he did not tell me that Mrs Eyre & Francis were in town nor have I seen any thing of them as yet, I suppose they are home again before now; (William Clift, 1793; Clift, 66)

Excluded from the analysis

(6) local negation (italicized)

Its amazing how fashions change, not many years ago nothing would do but short carcases and short legs, now they must be long carcased and stand high or they will not do at all, thin necked, straight topped, flat topped, and wide, in short light in the useless parts, and thick in theusefull parts. (George Culley, 1784; Culley, 199)

(7) true ‘double’ negation

Nor are we to blame this conduct when we are given to understand that his servants are not unfrequently inveigled away by people that come about Dishley. (George Culley, 1784; Culley, 204)

Data source: The Corpus of Early English Correspondence Extension (CEECE), in process of being compiled by the CEEC Team at the Research Unit for Variation, Contacts and Change in English, University of Helsinki: Terttu Nevalainen, Helena Raumolin-Brunberg; Samuli Kaislaniemi, Mikko Laitinen, Minna Nevala, Arja Nurmi, Minna Palander-Collin, Anni Sairio, and Tanja Säily.

Select references

Austin, Frances (1994). The effect of exposure to standard English: the language of William Clift. Towards a Standard English, 1600-1800, ed. by Dieter Stein & Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, 285-313. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Chambers, J.K. (2003). Sociolinguistic Theory: Linguistic Variation and Its Social Significance. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell.

Haspelmath, Martin (1997). Indefinite Pronouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Iyeiri, Yoko. (2001). Negative Constructions in Middle English. Fukuoka: Kyushu University Press.

Mazzon, Gabriella (2004). A History of English Negation (Longman Linguistics Library). Harlow: Pearson Education.

Nevalainen, Terttu (1998). Social mobility and the decline of multiple negation in Early Modern English, Advances in English Historical Linguistics (1996), ed. by Jacek Fisiak & Marcin Krygier, 263-291. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Nevalainen, Terttu (1999). Making the best use of ‘bad’ data: evidence for sociolinguistic variation in Early Modern English, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 100:4, 499-533.

Nevalainen, Terttu (2006). Negative concord as an English “vernacular universal”: social history and linguistic typology, Journal of English Linguistics, 34:3, 257-278.

Nevalainen, Terttu & Helena Raumolin-Brunberg (2003). Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England (Longman Linguistics Library). Harlow: Pearson Education.

Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Ingrid (1998). The origin and development of the ‘neg ... neither’ construction: a case of grammaticalisation. Negation in the History of English, ed. by Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Gunnel Tottie, & Wim van der Wurff, 207-231). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.