“I don’t have a pet dinosaur.” This sentence is, we assume, true for everyone listening to this episode (if it isn’t, uh, tell us your ways?). And yet it has a different feel to it than a more ordinary sentence like “I don’t have a cat”, the type of negated sentence that’s true for some people and not others.
In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about negation! We talk about how languages make sentences negative, how negation fits into the social side of conversation, and two ways you can make things super extra negative: negative concord (aka “French toast negation”) and negative polarity items (aka “Mean Girls negation”). Plus, a few sneak peeks from the upcoming book Highly Irregular by Arika Okrent, which is coming out on July 1, 2021 and which we are delighted to recommend.
This month’s bonus episode is a recording of our live show! When someone else is telling a story, you might encourage them to keep talking or to elaborate on a particular point by making various words, sounds, phrases, or gestures, such as “oh really?” and “mhm-hm” and nodding. This linguistic behaviour is known as backchannelling. Join us on Patreon to learn more, and to get access to 50 other bonus episodes. You’ll also get access to our Discord server to chat with other lingthusiasts!
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Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!
Lauren & Gretchen