Spelen met verwachtingen | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 28, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171

Abstract

Abstract

The lively research into changing negation patterns focuses mostly on the patterns found between authors. It rarely offers any insight into the individual language user who uses one- and two-part negations interchangeably in everyday communication, or in literary products. To fill this gap, this article focuses on the negation variation of the individual seventeenth-century language user Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676), by studying travel journals that he wrote during his sea voyages between 1633 and 1676. It is the aim of this article to analyze, in addition to the sociolinguistic and grammatical contexts of his negative sentences, the ‘meaning contexts’ in which his negations appear and function. This article demonstrates that De Ruyter’s travel journals show a meaningful pattern in his use of the single negation and bipartite negation. Whereas De Ruyter used single negation mostly in sentences expressing a decision or an announcement, bipartite negation functioned to emphatically negate an expectation he shared with the reader. This case study offers insight into the different functions of negation types and the subtle meanings they can express. In a more general sense, this case demonstrates the importance of researching variation at the level of the individual language user to better understand processes of language variation and change.

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