SMS Communication: A linguistic approach
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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This study investigates the drop of the first clitic element, ne, of French sentential negation. It is based on 4,628 French text messages taken from the newly established corpus sms4science.ch. It shows that regional or stylistic factors do not play a major role in triggering ne deletion or ne retention, and that the only relevant language-internal factor is subject type, more precisely clitic subjects (also in subject doubling structures) and subject drop, which seem to favour or even trigger categorically ne deletion. Our findings are in keeping with those by R. van Compernolle (2008) on European French in online chats, and thereby indicate partially specific regularities in French computer-mediated communication (CMC). The findings question traditional assumptions on ne drop as a variety marker in French, irrespective of the phonic or graphic nature of the data (cf. P. Koch and W. Oesterreicher 2011). In fact, even in graphically deviant data, ne drop seems to follow the observed robust language-internal regularities. Some data seem to indicate that the graphic nature of SMSes plays a role also in ne-drop (cf. similar conclusions by R. van Compernolle 2008 for chats); this has to be checked by examining a larger number of French text messages.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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