tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Nov 30 13:30:59 2009

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Re: Double negatives

ghunchu'wI' 'utlh (

On Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 2:37 PM, Christopher Doty <> wrote:
>> OTOH Chris is right in that double negatives are, in fact, a feature of *informal* or colloquial Standard English.  Every native speaker will correctly understand utterances like:
>>  "Don't give me none of your lip, boy!"
>>  "Rules?  We don't need no stinkin' rules!"
> Exactly! You would know that these sentences are negative.

I would also expect to have them marked incorrect on an English test,
since they are not grammatically proper English.

(Note that I carefully didn't call them "ungrammatical". I called them
"not grammatically proper". Please don't let that particular tangent
lead you off the topic here. Do you have a copy of Klingon for the
Galactic Traveler? You might find the section on intentional
ungrammaticality to be helpful in understanding the vocabulary in
common use on this forum.)

Similarly, {not vIleghbe'} "I never didn't see him" might perhaps be
something an uneducated or careless speaker of Klingon would say when
he meant {not vIlegh} "I never saw him." But it would be considered an
error nonetheless.

> Fair enough, we can say that "negative concord" isn't required in
> Klingon.

Every example we have tells us it is "not required" in exactly the
same way putting the object after the verb is "not required". In other
words, doing it is wrong.

The Klingon Dictionary was written for people who speak English.
Generally, it doesn't explicitly point out things that Klingon doesn't
do if English doesn't do them either.

> This isn't the same, though, as saying that such a thing is
> ungrammatical in Klingon as in English.  One might still be able to
> get two negatives, even if it isn't required.

It's easy enough to have two negatives in a Klingon sentence:
{matambe'qangbe'} "We are unwilling to not be silent", for example.
However, you won't get two negatives both meaning the same thing.

-- ghunchu'wI'

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