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Review of Pierre Larrivée (2001) L’interprétation des séquences négatives: portée et foyer des négations en français. (Champs linguistiques. Brussels: Duculot.)

Authors
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
Keywords
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • Memory
  • Text And Place
Disciplines
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Book review to appear in Journal of French Language Studies 13 Book review to appear in Journal of French Language Studies 13.1: 150–2. Larrivée, Pierre, L’interprétation des séquences négatives: portée et foyer des négations en français. (Champs linguistiques.) Brussels: Duculot, 2001, 213 pp. 2 8011 1283 6. ISSN 1374 089 x. DOI: 10.1017/S0959269503311056 This is a revised 1998 Laval thesis, covering scope and focus in French sentential negation. Its main chapters are preceded by an introduction, followed by a conclusion, glossary and appendix of data discussed in the text. As well as contextualising his work, Larrivée sensibly spends much of the Introduction (pp. 11–18) making clear the distinction between the two notions. While in (1) negation has wide scope (ne is available), in (2) it has narrow scope (over pour rien alone): (1) Il ne congédierait ses employés pour rien au monde. (2) Ilcongédie ses employés pour rien. In (3) negation has wide scope, over the embedded clause in (3b), over the main clause in (3a): (3) a. Je ne te forcerai à épouser personne. b. Je te forcerai à n’épouser personne. In (4) negation again has wide scope, yet it differs from (1) in that it focuses specifically on tous in (4a) and frivolement in (4b): (4) a. Elle ne congédierait jamais tous les employés. b. Elle ne dépenserait jamais frivolement son argent. The examples in (4) imply that some employees might be dismissed (but not all) and that her money might be spent (but not frivolously). Thus, while negation in (4) has wide scope, it has narrow focus. The notion of focus relates therefore to such semanticopragmatic concepts as conversational implicature. Chapter 1 (‘Portée des négations’, pp. 19–34) sets out the notion of scope. He shows that wide negative scope in French is characterised by the availability of: (a) ne (in relevant varieties), with the position of ne sometimes distinguishing between extents of wide scope (see (3)); (b) clitic inversion (cf. (5a, b

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