Mosegaard Hansen in French Studies seminar

Posted on November 24, 2008 by

French department colleague Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen will present a paper in this Thursdays (27 Nov) French Research Seminar entitled `The grammaticalization of negative reinforcers in old and middle French.’  Her talk will be followed by another talk, on transcultural studies by her colleague Siobhan Brownlie. Full details, including abstracts, below the fold.

French Studies Research Seminars, 2008-2009

Thursday 27 November 2008

2 short papers by colleagues in French Studies

1) Prof Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen

The grammaticalization of negative reinforcers in Old and Middle French:  a discourse-functional approach.

In this paper, I propose a discourse-functional analysis of the uses of different forms of clause negation in Old and Middle French, namely the bi-partite, “reinforced”, forms ne…mie and ne…pas vs the simple preverbal negator ne. I present evidence that this key stage in the diachronic evolution of clausal negation in French should be understood as governed by discourse-functional constraints on the flow of information. Furthermore, I suggest an explanation of the subsequent grammaticalization of the bi-partite ne…pas as the standard negator of French, in terms of a very specific, and fairly frequent, type of context in which reinforced negation is found to occur in Old and Middle French.

2) Dr Siobhan Brownlie

Attitudes towards the Norman Conquest and the French Today in Contemporary British Newspapers.

This paper focuses on the role of the cultural memory of the Norman Conquest in attitudes towards the French and France today as evidenced in British newspapers. As background to this I have examined more generally British attitudes towards the Norman Conquest in newspaper discourse. My data comprises articles published between July 2005 and July 2008 in ten newspapers including the serious press, middle-market papers, and tabloids. I used on-line versions of newspapers so that search words could be used in order to find references to the Norman Conquest. I will first present findings of the quantitative and qualitative analyses undertaken, before discussing two salient issues which came out of these studies. These are the importance of the category of neutral attitudes in the whole population of articles, and the significance of the negative category with respect to the French and France today.