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Interpretation of the French negation ne…pas

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In this article I set out to show that a polyphonic analysis of the French sentence negation ne…pas makes it possible on the one hand to specify certain relations between its pragmatic functions, and on the other to make explicit its syntactic and semantic properties. Like Oswald Ducrot (1984: 217.), I distinguish three interpretation types of sentence negation, and I propose a polyphonic analysis according to which the polemic use is fundamental. e metalinguistic and descriptive negations are derived from this primary value. I show that this pragmatic semantic analysis has some precise syntactic and distributional consequences. It is indeed possible to localize, at the formal level, some contexts that block this derivation and others that promote it. Because of the mutual dependence of the descriptive levels, this analysis can pretend to have a certain explicative value.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pragmatics of Negation : Negative manings, uses and discursive functions
EditorsMalin Roitman
Number of pages18
Place of publicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication year5 Dec 2017
ISBN (print)9789027256881
ISBN (Electronic)9789027264947
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017
SeriesPragmatics and Beyond New Series

Bibliographical note

A polyphony based analysis

    Research areas

  • Negation, pragmatics, polyphony

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ID: 95439118