Steve   Saturday, January 03, 2004, 02:46 GMT
What is with people using ''no'' to mean ''any''. ''No'' means ''not any''. So, it makes no sense to ever say, ''I don't have no money'', ''I'm not going no where'', I don't have no more nails''. Those sentences mean the exact opposite of what the person means when they say them. ''I don't have no money'' would mean ''I don't have not any money'' So, it would mean that the person did have some money. ''I'm not going no where'' would mean that the person was going somewhere. I don't have no more nails would mean that they did have some nails. All these sentences make no sense. Correctly said would be. ''I don't have any money'', I'm not going anywhere''. I don't have anymore nails. ''No'' means ''not any''.
Hythloday   Saturday, January 03, 2004, 18:30 GMT
Don't be a silly boy, Stephen. The double negative is primarily used in Modern Non-Standard English for stress or emphasis, as it is in languages such as Spanish and French. In Spanish, for example, the construction “No hace nada” (S/he isn’t doing nothing) is possible, as is “Je ne sais rien” (I don’t know nothing) in French. Both are permitted in Modern Non-Standard Englishes, but would be considered ‘ungrammatical’ in Standard English. Negative concord is not a modern phenomenon, however. In Old English, the ‘ne’ negative came before the verb and was often used with other negatives like ‘naefre’ (never), e.g. “ond hie naefre his banan folgian noldon / and they never his murderer follow ne-would." In Middle English, ‘noght’ was commonly used to emphasise the negative, as in Chaucer’s “Be wel auysed . . . That noon of us ne speke noght a word.” Multiple negation was also common during the Early Modern English period, as in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Act III, Scene I): “I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth / And that no woman has; nor never none / Shall mistress be of it, save I alone,” but it eventually fell out of use in Standard English. Contemporary Standard English permits only one negation per clause; a rule enforced by eighteenth century dictionaries (such as Dr Johnson’s) and grammars (such as Robert Lowth’s) which established many of the rules still perceived as markers of ‘good’ English. Dialects which allow double or even triple negation are now viewed as ‘sub-standard’ or 'illogical', but they are not. The ‘illogicality’ myth holds that two negatives cancel each other out, making a positive (supporters of this view seldom argue that three negatives make a negative). Only a pedant would argue, however, that the true meaning of the Al Jolson song You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet (1927) is the exact opposite of the one intended, or that the chorus of Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm (1965) actually means that he plans to continue working there. The use of double negatives seldom, if ever, results in ambiguity of meaning. Mathematical principles, moreover, cannot be applied to language: “formal, syllogistic reasoning is quite different from the grammatical manifestations of basic language propositions . . . we must concede that appealing to logic . . . is, somewhat ironically, a quite illogical line of reasoning itself” (Wolfram, 1998: 110). If we condemn negative concord as ungrammatical and illogical, as you appear to be doing above, Stephen, then we must also be prepared to condemn previous ages of English, the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare, modern languages such as Spanish and French as well as the dialects of most British English speakers today. I take it that even you would be unwilling to do so.
Jim   Monday, January 05, 2004, 07:06 GMT
Superbly put, Hythloday.