[Ads-l] No = 'yes; truly'

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 4 16:44:05 UTC 2016


There's been some work in conversation analysis on social functions of "no"
beyond rejection/disagreement. See, e.g.:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378216600000734
Emanuel A. Schegloff, "Getting serious: joke → serious ‘no’," Journal of
Pragmatics, December 2001, 33(12):1947–1955

Russell Lee-Goldman talks about the multifunctionality of "no" in this
presentation on the "yeah-no" phenomenon:

http://www1.icsi.berkeley.edu/~rleegold/ling/ipra2011-presentation.pdf

An episode of the Lexicon Valley podcast about "yeah-no" covered standalone
"no" for emphatic agreement at 20:40:

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2013/06/yeah_no_lexicon_valley_slate_podcast.html

And finally there was Kathryn Schulz's New Yorker article last year, "What
Part of 'No, Totally' Don’t You Understand?":

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/what-part-of-no-totally-dont-you-understand

Contains links to Language Log posts by Mark Liberman -- Mark followed up
here:

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=18588


On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 4:19 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

> I always consider the initial 'no' as meaning "I don't agree (yet)", which
> is why it can be followed by a 'yes' -- in the time it takes to say 'no'
> the brain gets to 'yes'.
>
> DanG
>
> On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 4:10 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > > On May 4, 2016, at 3:41 PM, Chris Waigl <chris at LASCRIBE.NET> wrote:
> > >
> > > On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 8:18 AM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> > >
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >> ME: Putin has already endorsed him.
> > >>
> > >> CHICAGO ATTORNEY:  No, no, they'll be compadres.
> > >>
> > >> It was clear to me that "compadres" emphasized what I'd said and
> didn't
> > >> contradict it.
> > >>
> > >> In fact, the same speaker used the "No!" idiom a number of times. This
> > was
> > >> the easiest to remember, though.
> > >>
> > >
> > > ​I've just had this sort of thing happen several times during a stay in
> > > Boston. Example: I've arrived at the airport and am making my way to
> the
> > > public transport exit. There's an automatic ticket dispenser, but I'm
> not
> > > sure about the correct options. There's also an information desk right
> > next
> > > to it. This was our approximate exchange:
> > >
> > > Information person: How are you getting into town?
> > > Me: I'd like to take the tram. Blue line.
> > > IP: You leave through THIS door and then turn left. Shuttle 55.
> > > Me: Do I need a shuttle ticket?
> > > ​IP: It's complimentary.
> > > Me, pointing to the ticket machine: Can I buy tickets there or do I
> have
> > to
> > > buy them here?
> > > IP: You can get your ticket here.
> > > Me: I understand that, but I wonder if there'll be another opportunity
> > for
> > > me to buy tickets at the other end.
> > > IP: No, no, no, no, NO! You can buy tickets at the transit station.
> > >
> > > (This seemed to be a native speaker, BTW, but with quite a lot of
> verbal
> > > ticks and big gestures.)
> > >
> > No = 'Don't worry'?  (Or "No worries", with "worries" deleted?)
> >
>

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