Occitan Negations: "Non" vs. "Pas"

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by Phosphorus, Aug 9, 2012.

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  1. Phosphorus Senior Member

    Adieusiatz amics et amigas,

    While reading a famous Old Occitan text, namely "La Nobla Leyczon", a phrase attracted my attention: "que neun home que viva, non po saber la fin" ~ "no man living can know the end". My knowledge regarding Romance languages is fairly inadequate, but as far as I perceive in the aforementioned phrase "non" appears to be the only element used in order to achieve negation.

    When compared to the so-called modern Occitan language, in which allegedly there is only "pas" (coming after the verb) for the sake of negation, then one observes a significant historical development (probably, if I am not mistaken, to which French might stand as a bridge: "ne ... pas").

    But the surprising part to me is a translation of "The Noble Lesson", provided in an external link in the Wikipedia article. From the orthography one can discern that it is by no means a standard text. But besides obvious orthographic diversity, this dialect also appears to represent some patent grammatical divergence in comparison to the so-called Standard Occitan: "que ges d'home que vive, non pouo saber la fin". The dialect, as the link holds, pertains to somehwere named Queyras (Oc. Cairàs)-in the Franco-Italian border. My Occitan is currently terrible, but I gave it a whirl and tried to reconstruct the same phrase in the standard form: "que degun [o "non"?] òm que viu, pòt pas saber la fin".

    I do not know how much my translation is correct, but as far as I am concerned there should stand a normal "pòt pas" for the Queyras Occitan "non pouo". I want to know what for there is such a chasm between Queyras Occitan and that of the other areas in terms of negation (any presumable foreign influences or original subdialectal developments)? And why the language of that ancient Weldensian text* appears (at least in terms of negation) to be closer to the dialect of Queyras than to the other Occitan varieties? Is this due to a French influence and one should suppose Queyras representing a purer negative case?

    *The text has evidently been found from an area only in vicinity of Queyras, namely Piedmont. It is held that it belongs to some 800 years ago, so if Queyras is to be per force regarded as the modern form of the text's old language, then should we suppose that the dialectal gap within the realm of Occitan is that chronic?

    Mercè plan d'avança per vòstras responsas.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  2. CapnPrep Senior Member

    You might be interested in this existing thread about negation in Occitan:
    Occitan: pas
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