On multiple negation marking in English.
On multiple negation marking (e.g. "I ain't told him nothing.") in English. Which, if any, of these statements is more useful to language learners?
1.Standard English lacks multiple negation marking.
2. Standard English disallows multiple negation marking.
Which would you find yourself more commonly using, and why?
Oh, definitely the second one. Standard English certainly doesn't have any part missing from it - it's just far, far too superior to allow multiple negation marking!
<<Standard English certainly doesn't have any part missing from it - it's just far, far too superior to allow multiple negation marking! >>
Reading comments on many, many forums, one would think that, yes. I never hear the word "lack" in regards to Standard English.
"I ain't told him nothing" is an example of a double negative, and is not a grammatically correct way to express that one has not told him anything. Post-modern linguists don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by saying it's wrong, so they make excuses by pointing to other languages with multiple negation marking, such as Spanish, and saying that MNM is a perfectly valid grammatical variant. Except that it's not MNM, it's a double negative. Think about it. What would the positive version of the statement be? It would be "I have told him something". To negate the sentence, we change "have" to "haven't" and "something" to "anything". So "I haven't told him anything", not "I ain't told him nothing", is MNM. The error in "I ain't told him nothing" is not in having multiple negation marking, but having the WRONG multiple negation marking (and using the nonstandard word "ain't"). People think of "anything" as a positive word, so they don't notice that this is MNM, but it clearly is a second negation marking.
Trying to analogize to other languages is absurd. One can point out that the positive version in Spanish is "Le he dicho algo" and the negation "No le he dicho nada", and say that the English translation of "nada" is "nothing", but that ignores the obvious fact that if "No le he dicho nada" means "I haven't told him anything", then "nada" must mean "anything". The error is thinking that there is a one-to-one correspondence between words. Actually, Spanish is deficient in this regard; there is no way to distinguish between "I have nothing" and "I don't have anything". It's a rather subtle distinction, and one that virtually never is important, but strictly speaking this is a distinction that exists in English but not in Spanish. There is, in fact, no word in Spanish which truly corresponds to the word "nothing".
Oh please. Your prescriptivist views are a good couple centuries out of date in any respectable linguistic circles, and belong with those who are still harping about final prepositions and using oblique pronouns as complements of predicative verbs. Need I say more, as arguing the same argument about these kinds of matters over again yet another time is completelly useless (especially since your type can generally never be convinced anywas).
Not sure why you gave us another grammar lesson, Another Guest. The question was about the word "lack" being used in reference to Standard English.
MikeyC, I apologize for not reading your question carefully. The correct answer, for reasons that I have already discussed, is that neither statement is a n accurate description.
Travis, your post is lacking both in basic facts and civility. The fact that you resort to appeals to authority, question begging, rank equivocation, blatant falsehoods, and name-calling in place of anything resembling an argument while hypocritically suggesting that I am incapable of rational discussion shows what sort of "discussion" you favor.
>>Travis, your post is lacking both in basic facts and civility. The fact that you resort to appeals to authority, question begging, rank equivocation, blatant falsehoods, and name-calling in place of anything resembling an argument while hypocritically suggesting that I am incapable of rational discussion shows what sort of "discussion" you favor.<<
It is because I have had this same "rational discussion" with people like you many, many times before, and they always turn out the same, and honestly I do not have the time and energy for going and arguing prescriptivism versus descriptivism with people who will never be convinced yet another time.
Well, anyways, for the sake of some historical background on the matter, the historical pattern in English was negation agreement, that is, "double negation". However, at some point some dialects must have lost such, presumably somewhere in the Early New English period, and prescriptivist types at the type for one reason or another jumped upon that as being the "correct" usage in English. Henceforth negation agreement was largely eliminated from more prestigious varieties of English, even though many English dialects still retain it to date despite its current lack of prestige. (For instance, negation agreement is the norm amongst lower and working class people here in Milwaukee, even though most middle and upper class people here lack negation agreement here.)
<(For instance, negation agreement is the norm amongst lower and working class people here in Milwaukee, even though most middle and upper class people here lack negation agreement here.) >
And when we say that a certain dialect (Standard English included there) lacks certain usage, do we really mean that speakers of dialects not lacking such usage are at an advantage?
I'd say "yes" to that last question. Standard English speakers do not have the possibility to express themselves with double-negatives. They may be missing something.
So what does "nada" mean here, AG?
B: De nada.
Another, where are you now?
<<They may be missing something.>>
No. They lack it but they don't need it.
<No. They lack it but they don't need it. >
Really? And how do you know that?