From constructions to functions and back: Contrastive negation in English and Finnish

  • 1 English Language and Culture, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. 111 (Yliopistokatu 4), Joensuu, Finland
Olli O. SilvennoinenORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0314-6665

Abstract

This is a comparative investigation of contrastive negation in English and Finnish, i. e. combinations of a negated and an affirmed part construed as alternatives to one another. In both languages, there are several constructions that express contrastive negation, but their division of labour remains unclear. The aims of the paper are two-fold: first, to see what constructional strategies are available for contrastive negation in the two languages and, second, to see how the strategies are motivated by its interactional functions. In English, contrastive negation may be expressed by using the adversative conjunction but correctively (e. g. It’s not the bikers but the other vehicle on the road), whereas standard Finnish has a specialised corrective conjunction vaan alongside the adversative mutta. Moreover, many constructions can express contrastive negation, including ones without a conjunction (e. g. It’s not the bikers, it’s the other vehicle on the road). An analysis of conversational data shows that English favours constructions without conjunctions, while in Finnish constructions both with and without conjunctions are frequent. The uses of contrastive negation are divided into reactive and non-reactive. The pragmatic functions largely explain the usage patterns, and these in turn can explain the cross-linguistic regularities of corrective conjunctions.

  • Arkisyn: A morphosyntactically coded database of conversational Finnish. Database compiled at the University of Turku, with material from the Conversation Analysis Archive at the University of Helsinki and the Syntax Archives at the University of Turku. Department of Finnish and Finno-Ugric Languages, University of Turku.

  • BNC = Audio BNC: the audio edition of the Spoken British National Corpus. Phonetics Laboratory, University of Oxford. http://www.phon.ox.ac.uk/AudioBNC

  • CAA = Conversation Analysis Archive. Database compiled at the University of Helsinki. Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies.

  • Anscombre, Jean-Claude & Oswald Ducrot. 1977. Deux mais en français? Lingua 43(1). 23–40. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Barth-Weingarten, Dagmar. 2009. Contrasting and turn transition: Prosodic projection with parallel-opposition constructions. Journal of Pragmatics 41(11). 2271–2294. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad & Edward Finegan. 1999. Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow: Longman.

  • Bybee, Joan L. 2006. From usage to grammar: The mind’s response to repetition. Language 82(4). 711–733.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth & Margret Selting. 2018. Interactional linguistics: Studying language in social interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Croft, William. 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Croft, William. 2016. Comparative concepts and language-specific categories: Theory and practice. Linguistic Typology 20(2). 377–393. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Croft, William. Forthcoming. Morphosyntax: Constructions of the world’s languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Croft, William & D. Alan Cruse. 2004. Cognitive linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Deppermann, Arnulf. 2014. “Don’t get me wrong”: Recipient design by using negation to constrain an action’s interpretation. In Susanne Günthner, Wolfgang Imo & Jörg Bücker (eds.), Grammar and dialogism: Sequential, syntactic, and prosodic patterns between emergence and sedimentation, 15–51. Berlin: de Gruyter.

  • Deppermann, Arnulf & Elwys De Stefani. 2019. Defining in talk-in-interaction: Recipient-design through negative definitional components. Journal of Pragmatics 140. 140–155. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Du Bois, John W. 1985. Competing motivations. In John Haiman (ed.), Iconicity in syntax, 343–365. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Du Bois, John W. 2007. The stance triangle. In Robert Englebretson (ed.), Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction, 139–182. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Duvallon, Outi & Rea Peltola. 2017a. Deontic readings of the imperative through the prism of force dynamic relations: Permissive and preventive utterances with the discourse marker vaa(n) in Finnish. Journal of Pragmatics 120. 17–34. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Duvallon, Outi & Rea Peltola. 2017b. Voimadynaaminen vaan: Odotusten, intentioiden ja kerrottavuuden partikkeli [Finnish vaan – the force-dynamic particle of expectations, intentions and tellability]. Virittäjä 121(4). 500–533. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Ford, Cecilia E. 2001. At the intersection of turn and sequence: Negation and what comes next. In Margret Selting & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Studies in interactional linguistics, 51–80. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Fried, Mirjam & Jan-Ola Östman. 2005. Construction Grammar and spoken language: The case of pragmatic particles. Journal of Pragmatics 37(11). 1752–1778. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Gates, Dave L., Jr. & Orin Dale Seright 1967. Negative-contrastive constructions in standard modern English. American Speech 42(2). 136–141. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Givón, Talmy. 1978. Negation in language: Pragmatics, function, ontology. In Peter Cole (ed.), Syntax and semantics 9: Pragmatics, 69–112. New York: Academic Press.

  • Goldberg, Adele E. 2006. Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Grice, H. P. 1975. Logic and conversation. In Peter Cole & Jerry L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and semantics 3: Speech acts, 41–58. New York: Academic Press.

  • Haakana, Markku & Laura Visapää. 2014. Eiku – korjauksen partikkeli? [Eiku – the particle of repair?]. Virittäjä 118(1). 41–71.

  • Haddington, Pentti. 2005. The linguistic neg + pos pattern and two action combinations as resources for interviewee stance taking in news interviews. In Leena Kuure, Elise Kärkkäinen & Maarit Saarenkunnas (eds.), Kieli ja sosiaalinen toiminta – Language and social action. AFinLA yearbook 2005, 85–107. Jyväskylä: AFinLA.

  • Haiman, John. 1983. Iconic and economic motivation. Language 59(4). 781–819. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hakulinen, Auli, Maria Vilkuna, Riitta Korhonen, Vesa Koivisto, Tarja Riitta Heinonen & Irja Alho. 2004. Iso suomen kielioppi [Comprehensive grammar of Finnish]. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. http://scripta.kotus.fi/visk (accessed 4 July 2019).

  • Hakulinen, Lauri. 1955. Suomen kielen käännöslainoista [On calques in Finnish]. Virittäjä 59(4). 305–318.

  • Haspelmath, Martin. 2006. Against markedness (and what to replace it with). Journal of Linguistics 42(1). 25–70. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Haspelmath, Martin. 2008. Frequency vs. iconicity in explaining grammatical asymmetries. Cognitive Linguistics 19(1). 1–33. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Haspelmath, Martin. 2010. Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in crosslinguistic studies. Language 86(3). 663–687. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hawkins, John A. 2004. Efficiency and complexity in grammars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Heine, Bernd & Tania Kuteva. 2002. World lexicon of grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Herlin, Ilona. 1998. Suomen kun [The conjunction kun in Finnish]. Helsinki: University of Helsinki dissertation.

  • Hilpert, Martin. 2014. Construction Grammar and its application to English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Hopper, Paul. 1987. Emergent grammar. Berkeley Linguistics Society (BLS) 13. 139–157.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hopper, Paul J. 2011. Emergent grammar and temporality in interactional linguistics. In Peter Auer & Stefan Pfänder (eds.), Constructions: Emergent and emerging, 22–44. Berlin: de Gruyter. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Horn, Laurence R. 1985. Metalinguistic negation and pragmatic ambiguity. Language 61(1). 121–174. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Horn, Laurence R. 1989. A natural history of negation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Huddleston, Rodney & Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ikola, Osmo, Ulla Palomäki & Anna-Kaisa Koitto. 1989. Suomen murteiden lauseoppia ja tekstikielioppia [Syntax and text grammar of Finnish dialects]. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.

  • Jasinskaja, Katja. 2012. Correction by adversative and additive markers. Lingua 122(15). 1899–1918. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Jespersen, Otto. 1917. Negation in English and other languages. Copenhagen: Høst.

  • Jones, Steven, M., Lynne Murphy, Carita Paradis & Caroline Willners. 2012. Antonyms in English: Construals, constructions and canonicity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Keenan, Edward L. & Bernard Comrie. 1977. Noun Phrase Accessibility and Universal Grammar. Linguistic Inquiry 8(1). 63–99.

  • Keevallik, Leelo. 2017. Linking performances: The temporality of contrastive grammar. In Ritva Laury, Marja Etelämäki & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Linking clauses and actions in social interaction, 54–72. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.

  • Kielitoimiston sanakirja [Dictionary of the Finnish Language Office]. 2018. Helsinki: Kotimaisten kielten keskus. URN:NBN:fi:kotus-201433. Online publication. Updated on 6 June 2018 (accessed 4 July 2019).

  • Korhonen, Riitta. 1993. Buts about conjunctions: A syntactic study of conjunction expressions in Finnish (Studia Fennica Linguistica 4). Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.

  • Korhonen-Kusch, Riitta. 1988. “Monta muttaa”: mutta-luokan konnektiivien syntaktis-semanttis-pragmaattista analyysia [‘Many but’s’: Analysing the syntax, semantics and pragmatics of the but class of connectives]. Helsinki: University of Helsinki licentiate thesis.

  • Laakso, Minna & Marja-Leena Sorjonen. 2010. Cut-off or particle – Devices for initiating self-repair in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 42. 1151–1172. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Laitinen, Lea. 2006. Zero person in Finnish: A grammatical resource for construing human reference. In Marja-Liisa Helasvuo & Lyle Campbell (eds.), Grammar from the human perspective: Case, space and person in Finnish, 209–231. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Lambrecht, Knud. 1994. Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Langacker, Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of cognitive grammar, Volume 1: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  • Lehmann, Christian. 1988. Towards a typology of clause linkage. In John Haiman & Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), Clause combining in grammar and discourse, 181–225. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Linell, Per. 2009. Grammatical constructions in dialogue. In Alexander Bergs & Gabriele Diewald (eds.), Contexts and constructions, 97–110. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Mauri, Caterina. 2009. Coordination relations in the languages of Europe and beyond. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • McCawley, James D. 1991. Contrastive negation and metalinguistic negation. Chicago Linguistics Society (CLS) 27(2). 189–206.

  • Meyer, David, Achim Zeileis & Kurt Hornik. 2017. vcd: Visualizing Categorical Data. R package version 1.4-4.

  • Mithun, Marianne. 1988. The grammaticization of coordination. In John Haiman & Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), Clause combining in grammar and discourse, 331–359. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Ono, Tsuyoshi & Sandra Thompson. 2017. Negative scope, temporality, fixedness, and right- and left-branching: Implications for typology and cognitive processing. Studies in Language 41(3). 543–576. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Prince, Ellen F. 1981. Toward a Taxonomy of Given-New Information. In Peter Cole (ed.), Radical pragmatics, 223–255. New York: Academic Press.

  • R Core Team. 2016. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.

  • Roitman, Malin. 2015. Constructing one’s arguments based on refutations of the other’s discourse. A study of the traditional presidential debate: Chirac/Jospin (1995) versus Sarkozy/Royal (2007). Argumentation 29. 19–32. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rostila, Jouni. 2006. Storage as a way to grammaticalization. Constructions 1. http://journals.linguisticsociety.org/elanguage/constructions/article/view/3070/3049.html.

  • Rudolph, Elisabeth. 1996. Contrast: Adversative and concessive expressions on sentence and text level. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1988. On an actual virtual servo-mechanism for guessing bad news: A single case conjecture. Social Problems 35(4). 442–457. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1996. Turn organization: One intersection of grammar and interaction. In Elinor Ochs, Emanuel A. Schegloff & Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), Interaction and grammar, 52–133. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Schegloff, Emanuel A., Gail Jefferson & Harvey Sacks. 1977. The preference for self-correction in the organization of repair in conversation. Language 53(2). 361–382. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Silvennoinen, Olli O. 2017. Not only apples but also oranges: Contrastive negation and register. In Turo Hiltunen, Joe McVeigh & Tanja Säily (eds.), Big and rich data in English corpus linguistics: Methods and explorations. Helsinki: VARIENG. http://www.helsinki.fi/varieng/series/volumes/19/silvennoinen/ (accessed 5 July 2019).

  • Silvennoinen, Olli O. 2018. Constructional schemas in variation: Modelling contrastive negation. Constructions and Frames 10(1). 1–37. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Stassen, Leon. 2000. AND-languages and WITH-languages. Linguistic Typology 4(1). 1–54. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Svensson, Maria. 2011. Marqueurs corrélatifs en français et en suédois: l’exemple de non seulement … mais et inte bara … utan. Revue française de linguistique appliquée 16(2). 41–56.

  • Taglicht, Josef. 1984. Message and emphasis: On focus and scope in English. London: Longman.

  • Thompson, Sandra A., Barbara A. Fox & Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen. 2015. Grammar in everyday talk: Building responsive actions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Graeme Trousdale. 2013. Constructionalization and constructional changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Vilkuna, Maria. 2015. Negation in Finnish. In Matti Miestamo, Anne Tamm & Beáta Wagner-Nagy (eds.), Negation in Uralic languages, 457–485. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Whitney, Arthur H. 1956. Teach yourself Finnish. London: English Universities Press.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

The official journal of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Folia Linguistica covers all non-historical areas in the traditional disciplines of general linguistics, and also sociological, discoursal, computational and psychological aspects of language and linguistic theory. Folia Linguistica Historica is exclusively devoted to diachronic linguistics (both historical and comparative) and to the history of linguistics.

Search