While ne deletion persobal are nearly categorical in informal spoken Canadian French, ne use remains strong in online personals. VARBRUL analyses reveal that the variable presence of ne is conditioned by the age of the advertiser and the presence vs. The are discussed within the broader context of the progressive loss of quebdc in French as well as self-presentation and audience de in online communication contexts.
Introduction Verbal negation in Modern French is characterized by its two "embracing" particles.
The first particle ne, n' precedes a conjugated verb, and one or more negative complements e. Paul ne veut pas venir. Armstrong and Smith have even reported that ne deletion is spreading to highly monitored speech contexts, such as radio interviews with politicians, although ne retention rates in formal settings remain extremely high quebrc compared to everyday conversational French.
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The ultimate fate of ne, however, is unknown at this point in time. Some researchers have suggested that the declining rates of ne wuebec reported in the literature imply personwl change in progress, and that, upon completion of that change, ne will disappear from the French language altogether Ashby, While literature on ne deletion in spoken French is abundant, there exist relatively few comparisons of variable ne presence vs.
The present study provides a brief discussion of variable ne realization in a corpus of online pfrsonal advertisements from Quebec, focusing specifically on the effect of selected social and linguistic factors: age of qyebec, gender, and choice of address pronoun. Variable rule VARBRUL analyses reveal that age and choice of address pronoun have ificant main effects on ne presence versus absence, while gender is a nonificant factor. Partitioned analyses considering each age group i. In concluding, the somewhat surprising finding that dating site members productively demonstrate ne das is discussed within the broader context of self-presentation, identity, and language style online.
The Internet allows communication to occur relatively quickly and efficiently between people in spite of various geographical and time constraints; this has broad implications for the development and maintenance of online relationships. Ben-Ze'evp. Much of the literature on online dating has focused on self-presentation and potential deception on dating sites e.
This is personzl line with research concerning relationship maintenance and self-presentation in computer-mediated environments more generally pegsonal. While similarities exist between dating sites and other forms of CMC e. Ellison et al. At the same time, Ellison et al. By the same token, participants in Ellison et al. These online dating site members reported adopting "various strategies to demonstrate the credibility of their [own] identity claims, recursively applying the same techniques they employed to uncover representational ruses in others" pp.
Only a limited of researchers have untaken analyses of the discourse of online personal e. Groom and Pennebaker explored the language used by online dating site members, comparing men's and women's personals along rather stereotypical lines. For example, they found that men focused more on physical traits, money and possessions, and personal success, while women were more concerned with personalities and building interpersonal relationships.
These are in line with what has been shown ly in analyses of print personal e. The vast majority of research on online dating has dealt with speakers of English.
Thus, little is known about practices used by online dating participants' who are speakers of other languages. Self-promotion was by far the most often occurring type of information, followed by invitations to contact and greetings. It was also found that younger men were more likely to include a description of their ideal partner than were women, leading van Compernolle to note that young men may be seen not only as advertisers of a product i.
However, young men tended to use plural address at high frequencies. This result is in line with Groom and Pennebaker's finding that young men tended to contact many women indiscriminately, while women preferred to correspond with one man at a time.
First, the presence of second-person address is indicative of online dating participants' perception of the personal ad as a form of interpersonal communication, as they are addressing their potential reader s directly. Second, singular address i. Third, the use of plural address indicates that at least some members exploit the one-to-many participation framework in order to contact the greatest of potential partners.
Fourth, second-person pronouns familiar tu, formal vous-singular or vous-plural are used strategically as a means of either creating familiarity with one's reader i. Although most research has drawn from corpora of metropolitan French e. The present study is principally concerned with variable ne realization in Quebec French, a variety in which ne deletion has become almost categorical, at least in everyday conversation.
In the first large-scale study of this type of sociolinguistic variation in French, Sankoff and Vincent  investigated the productive use of ne in a corpus of Montreal French.
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The data were collected from sociolinguistic interviews with 60 informants—evenly distributed across demographic e. Sankoff and Vincent reported that ne was retained in only 0. No clear pattern of variation was found across demographic groups, suggesting that near categorical ne deletion has become more or less generalized in Montreal.
The highest ne retention rate reported was in the speech of a year-old woman from a wealthy business family, who had spent several years in France as a student. Occurrences of two-particle negation seemed to crop up during the discussion of serious topics, such as religion, the punishment of children, the telling of proverbs, and language, leading Sankoff and Vincent to conclude that ne presence functions as a stylistic feature of discourse.
In the RFQ, ne was retained in only 0. In the Ottawa-Hull corpus, ne was retained in only 0. Following Sankoff and Vincent Poplack and St-Amand analyzed the rare occurrences of ne in both corpora. While in the RFQ ne tended to be used randomly, tokens of it were concentrated in parts of interviews discussing serious topics and during proverbial-style discourse "soapbox" style in the Ottawa-Hull corpus.
The researchers concluded that although no change has occurred with respect to frequency of ne retention, a ificant change has occurred in the productive use of ne; that is, the negative morpheme has been pragmaticized in 20th century French.
Poplack and St-Amand refer to as this as "specialized ne" use. In spoken European French, by way of comparison, ne variation is still considered "productive. Coveney conducted sociolinguistic interviews with 30 adult speakers working in several summer camps colonies de vacances in Northern France in the mids. He reported an overall frequency of ne retention of First, younger speakers aged 17 to 22 years retained ne with the lowest frequency 8. The oldest informants—all middle-aged women who worked as cooks—retained ne at the highest frequency Coveney does, however, report that one year-old male informant retained ne at an extremely high frequency; he was excluded from the.
In this case, Coveney argues that since this young man was already an assistant camp director, he may have felt the need to represent the camp favorably and therefore retained ne at a high frequency pp. In addition, at the beginning of the interview, the year-old assistant director asked whether he should speak more slowly and more distinctly so that English speakers would be able to understand better, and Coveney notes that he did in fact speak in a rather careful style. Speaker gender was not found to influence variation in Coveney's study, which is inconsistent with research conducted by Ashbywho found that women were more likely to delete ne than their male counterparts.
However, social class i. In his conclusion, Coveney suggests that: certain aspects of the social differentiation found. What seems more probable is that there is now a pattern of age-grading, whereby each generation of speakers has virtually a zero rate of ne retention as children and adolescents, but then as they become older modify their speech, under pressure from, and in the direction of, the written language.
In both corpora, social class was found to be a determining factor: Speakers in the upper and intermediate classes favored ne retention, while working class speakers disfavored its presence. GoldVarb 2. The of the corpus corroborate those reported by Coveney for speaker gender. Age was selected as ificant in both corpora: While ne retention rates have fallen across all groups, older speakers' rates remain ificantly higher than those of younger speakers.
Ashby posits that ne is not necessarily in danger of being lost; rather, he writes of a "shift" in progress, whereby lower frequencies of ne retention represent an express decision across social classes and ages to use everyday language in the same circumstances that, inrequired a higher level of formality ; see also Posner, Hansen and Malderez also conducted a real-time study of ne deletion in France, drawing from two corpora of recorded interviews with speakers from the Paris region.
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Hansen and Malderez found a ificant decline in ne retention rates, from In line with research e. A rather straightforward linear progression according to age was found; that is, the older the speaker was, the more frequently he or she retained persona. Level of education, although less influential than age, was also found personall be ificant, as university educated speakers retained ne more frequently than those who had only completed secondary-level coursework.
However, while ificant drops in ne retention rates were found between the s and s, Hansen and Malderez are reluctant to interpret their findings as a positive of a change in progress.
Citing Blanche-Benvenistewho reported that young girls were perfectly capable of using ne appropriately when imitating the speech of elegant ladies, Hansen and Malderez argue that ne is not disappearing from French; rather, its association with formal discourse, the speech of members of upper levels of society, and the formal written language make it an important sociolinguistic resource for all speakers.
However, Coveney notes that as speakers of French are exposed to more formal education, ne retention becomes categorical in most written contexts. Variable 'ne' Deletion in Electronic French Recently, some research has been published concerning variable ne deletion in French CMC environments, which involve writing, but vary in their degree of synchronicity and planning. A qualitative analysis revealed that most tokens of ne occurred during ludic or emphatic contexts.
Ludic contexts included jokes, role-playing, imitations, and quoting; emphatic contexts were associated with oppositions and contrasts or found during arguments and disputes. Using the same corpus of IRC, van Compernolle forthcoming b investigated variable ne deletion in relation to a of internal linguistic factors, namely the nature of the subject i.
Subject type and preceding phonological environment had ificant main effects; however, these two factors interact. This revealed that ne retention was most likely to occur with noun phase subjects, followed by [- overt subject] environments e. Within the [- overt subject] category, negative complement type was ificant: pas disfavored ne retention, and all others tended to favor it.
The surrounding phonological environment was a ificant factor only within the pronoun subject category, which van Compernolle speculates is caused by the grammaticalization of a of clitic-verb sequences.
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This is especially true in the case of the sequences c'est 'it is', tu es 'you are', and tu as 'you have', which are often reduced to c, t, and ta in text-based chat. Thus, orthography i. A of other studies of French-language CMC using different corpora have also remarked on the use of ne. Although they focused primarily on variation in the spelling of selected subject-verb sequences, the authors note that ne deletion is widespread in IRC but that ne is nearly categorically retained in moderated chat discussions, because of the formality of the context interview-style discourse and the fact that a deated moderator was responsible for which questions appeared and were answered by the guests.
Lawrence Williams personal communication has also indicated that while ne deletion occurs relatively frequently in asynchronous discussion fora, the rates do not approach those found in synchronous chat. This variability is greater than that observed across different unmoderated chat channels e. Research Questions and Hypotheses The reported in studies of ne deletion serve as the basis for the research questions and hypotheses explored in the present study.
The first research question to be explored is: RQ1: How often, if at all, is ne deleted in online personal ? If advertisers productively demonstrate variation, how do deletion rates compare to those reported in studies of spoken Quebec French and forms of electronic and non-electronic written or typed communication?
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Gender is a classic sociolinguistic variable, and much variationist research over the past 40 years has shown that, in the case of stable variation, women tend to use standard forms more frequently than do men Labov,p. In addition, gender tends to be a ificant factor in self-presentation and the discourse produced in French-language online personals van Compernolle, forthcoming a and a determining factor in choice of address pronoun or address strategy van Compernolle, forthcoming c.
However, the effect of gender on ne use may be different. Although Ashby's Tours study found that men were more likely to retain ne than were women, more recent research e. Therefore, consistent with the literature on ne variation, the first hypothesis is: H1: Gender will be statistically nonificant in this study.
The most influential factor in many of the studies summarized above has been the speaker's age: Younger speakers tend to delete ne more often than older ones.