HWÆT!!!!!!

THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH IN ALL CAPS

ANYBODY WHO COMPLAINS ABOUT DOUBLE NEGATION  MIGHT BE INTERESTED TO KNOW THAT THE CLAIM THAT ONE NEGATIVE WORD “CANCELS OUT” THE OTHER (CLAIMS LIKE “BUT ‘I DON’T KNOW NOTHING’ MEANS THAT YOU KNOW SOMETHING!”) IS RELATIVELY NEW TO SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH.

OLD ENGLISH WAS A NEGATIVE CONCORD LANGUAGE! THIS MEANS THAT, LIKE OTHER NEGATIVE CONCORD LANGUAGES (RUSSIAN, FOR EXAMPLE), IT ALLOWED ADDITIONAL NEGATIVE WORDS TO BE ADDED FOR EMPHASIS! MORE NEGATIVE WORDS SIMPLY “ADD ON” TO ONE ANOTHER, RATHER THAN CANCELLING ONE ANOTHER OUT. SO FOR AN OLD ENGLISH SPEAKER, “I DON’T KNOW NOTHING” WOULD SIMPLY MEAN I REALLY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! THIS DIDN’T REALLY DISAPPEAR UNTIL THE EARLY MODERN ENGLISH PERIOD, WHICH MEANS THE 16TH CENTURY OR LATER.

IT NOW APPEARS THAT, ALTHOUGH STANDARD ENGLISH RULES HOLD THAT TWO NEGATIVES WILL FORM A POSITIVE, MANY PRESENT DAY ENGLISH DIALECTS STILL ALLOW NEGATIVE CONCORD, MUCH LIKE HISTORICAL STAGES OF ENGLISH!

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1 year ago
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  10. mellonikan reblogged this from potsyelooy-moved and added:
    Whenever I’m working with Greek, and I come across a string of negatives, I like to write, “very, very, very no.” I...
  11. potsyelooy-moved reblogged this from capitalized-hwaet and added:
    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I actually love double negatives. The use of double negatives didn’t disappear until the...
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  18. capitalized-hwaet reblogged this from adventuresineclecticism and added:
    PROBABLY THE LATTER! ENGLISH NEGATION HAS UNDERGONE SOME PRETTY DRAMATIC SYNTACTIC CHANGES (RELATED TO AN OBSERVED...
  19. adventuresineclecticism reblogged this from capitalized-hwaet and added:
    WOULD THAT BE A COMPETING CONSTRUCTION THAT HAS CONTINUED EXISTING SINCE THE 16TH CENTURY BUT JUST NEVER BECAME...