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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    negation reduction

    Hi,

    What sounds would didn't/doesn't/don't/wouldn't be reduced to in the following sentence? I can't tell if people are saying in a positive form or a negative form when they speak fast. Thanks!

    **He's so lazy. He didn't/doesn't/wouldn't even lift a finger to help his mother clean the room.

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    #2

    Re: negation reduction

    Welcome to the forums, Tay.

    I'm not sure I understand your question, as "didn't/doesn't/don't/wouldn't" are all negative as they include the contraction of "not". "He didn't" means 'He did not" etc.

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: negation reduction

    The most typical case of sometimes having difficulty in understanding the negative is with the pair "can/can't". With your examples, the positive is most frequently used for stress, so they should not be hard to distinguish from the negatives.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Welcome to the forums, Tay.

    I'm not sure I understand your question, as "didn't/doesn't/don't/wouldn't" are all negative as they include the contraction of "not". "He didn't" means 'He did not" etc.
    Thank you and Charliedeut for your prompt replies, I know the rules though, I can't clearly hear and understand the pronunciation (such as wouldn't even)as in the sentence when people speak with strong intonation.

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    #5

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Tay2000 View Post
    Thank you and Charliedeut for your prompt replies, I know the rules though, I can't clearly hear and understand the pronunciation (such as wouldn't even)as in the sentence when people speak with strong intonation.
    Since stress is used to highlight the meaningful parts of an utterance, 'not' is always stressed as it changes the meaning. It doesn't really matter if 'not' is contracted or not. When it is, the verb becomes stressed instead. So, in your example 'He's so lazy. He wouldn't even lift a finger...' 'wouldn't' should be fully pronounced and quite perceivable.

    Usually, it's not so much the matter of hearing the stress as general understanding. 'He's so lazy, he would even lift a finger to help..' doesn't make much sense, I'm afraid.

    The same trick would work with the 'can' - 'can't' pair, especially in AmE.
    Last edited by Esredux; 16-Sep-2013 at 16:38. Reason: typo

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    Since stress is used to highlight the meaningful parts of an utterance, 'not' is always stressed
    I do not agree. The speaker may choose to stress the 'not' for emphasis.
    So, in your example 'He's so lazy. He wouldn't even life a finger...' 'wouldn't' should be fully pronounced and quite perceivable.
    I am not sure what you mean by that. Wouldn't is unlikely to be stressed in that utterance.

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    #7

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I do not agree. The speaker may choose to stress the 'not' for emphasis.
    Are you saying it's possible not to stress negation and it's solely up to the speaker to choose to stress it or not?

    I am not sure what you mean by that. Wouldn't is unlikely to be stressed in that utterance.
    Agree, it could be, likewise it could be not. In any case, 'wouldn't even' is fairly difficult to mishear, and the positive form is so unlikely that it's almost impossible to misunderstand the sentence, imo.
    thanks

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    #8

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    Are you saying it's possible not to stress negation and it's solely up to the speaker to choose to stress it or not?
    Yes

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    #9

    Re: negation reduction

    I must admit I was wrong to agree with you on the previous: in '...he wouldn't even lift a finger..' 'wouldn't' might not be as prominent as 'lift' or 'finger' but it is stressed/fully pronounced. In this respect, P. Roacher's chapter 10.1 is quite interesting, the one about how stress is produced and perceived.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Yes
    I am also feeling rather reluctant to take your word for it, I am sorry. Obviously, my English experience is limited by my non-nativeness, yet I have never come across an unstressed weak negative form. Rather the opposite, during myriad transcriptions I've done in my life on various courses I was taught to mark stress on negation. Also, modern course books can be lacking something else but are quite unanimous on this point - negation is always stressed (or, perceived as stressed?) Your 'yes' would mean what we are teaching is not accurate.

    Since it's not out of idle curiosity, I'd be genuinely grateful if you could find time to give examples of negation that is clearly not stressed.

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    #10

    Re: negation reduction

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    I must admit I was wrong to agree with you on the previous: in '...he wouldn't even lift a finger..' 'wouldn't' might not be as prominent as 'lift' or 'finger' but it is stressed/fully pronounced.
    In what way is it 'stressed'? What exactly do you mean by 'fully pronounced?
    In this respect, P. Roacher's chapter 10.1 is quite interesting, the one about how stress is produced and perceived.
    I'm afraid most of us don't have P Roacher's book to hand.What did s/he say that is so interesting?
    I have never come across an unstressed weak negative form.
    You've lived a very sheltered life.
    Rather the opposite, during myriad transcriptions I've done in my life on various courses I was taught to mark stress on negation
    I'm afraid you were taught wrongly.
    . Also, modern course books can be lacking something else but are quite unanimous on this point - negation is always stressed (or, perceived as stressed?)
    Please give page references for just one book that claims that.
    I'd be genuinely grateful if you could find time to give examples of negation that is clearly not stressed.
    Most of them.

    Unfortunately, esgaleth, I am just going on holiday, so I won't be responding to any further points you may be making for at least ten days.

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