tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 11:21:40 2009

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Re: Double negatives

Mark J. Reed ( [KLI Member]

ghunchu'wI' was explicitly referring to "Standard English", which I
take to mean the admittedly artificial formal written standard. Of
course many, perhaps most, natural varieties of English have examples
of negative concord, but most also have examples of two negatives
making a positive, e.g:

"Did you tell him?"
"I didn't not tell him..."

True, language isn't math - or, more appropriately, logic - but
applying logic to it's analysis is not "stupid"; I would instead call
it "linguistics".    Yes, silly prescriptivists have used the analogy
to justify an otherwise baseless prohibition, but their error lies
only in overgeneralization. The fact is that the analogy holds in some
  And using loaded terms like "stupid" isn't going to win you any
hearts and minds in your ongoing battle with ghunchu'wI'.  I know he's
not innocent of arguing ad hominem either, but continuing in that vein
will at best grow merely tiresome.

On Monday, November 30, 2009, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 06:29, ghunchu'wI' 'utlh <> wrote:
>> Klingon does not employ "negative concord" the way some languages do.
> Whence does this conclusion come?
>> Double negatives in Klingon appear to act the way they do in Standard
>> English, with one negating the other and yielding an affirmative
>> meaning.
> This doesn't happen in Standard English, and it is stupid to say so.
> Language is not math, and two negatives do not make a positive, and
> saying so borders on various kinds of "-ists."
> There is, further, reason to believe that we might see differences in
> English in Klingon: in English, "not" negates an entire clause; in
> Klingon, <-be'> negates only what immediately precedes it. ÂSo, in
> Klingon, a clause with a negative <-be'> and, say, a <not>, don't
> really have two negatives with the same scope.
> I'm not saying this is okay in Klingon, just that it might be. ÂAnd
> that two negatives equal a positive is stupid.

Mark J. Reed <>

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