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Re: Negation raising (was: introduction)

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 30, 2002, 20:20
En réponse à John Cowan <jcowan@...>:

> Christophe Grandsire scripsit: > > > I think I don't need to give a translation :))) > > I point out this Christophe-ism, not in the spirit of correction, but > rather in the spirit of letting the imagination run away with it. > In English, "I think ..." raises negation from the embedded sentence > to the matrix, so we express this as "I don't think I need ...".
Is it true in all cases? I find that both sentences convey quite a different meaning to me. But maybe it's the influence of my L1. Other Anglophones who find my sentence strange?
> This can happen even across sentences: > > A: Is he coming to the office today? > B: I don't think so. > > B's comment means more than that B doesn't believe the underlying > statement "He is coming to the office today"; rather it means that he > believes it to be false.
Well, that's not how I would understand it. To me it means that there is still doubt on whether he is gonna come or not, and B's statement shows simply B's opinion. But since i'm French I may simply be influenced by my L1. B could have alternatively said:
> > B: I think not. > > which leaves the negation in the (elided) embedded clause, and is a > little more definite. Nevertheless, there is no clear way to simply > negate "I think that ..." consistent with either "I think ... is > false" > or "I have no opinion on the truth value of ..." >
I would have thought that the last two constructions you showed were an example of that. I was even taught them that way. Hehe, as I often say, I learned more English by this mailing list than by my classes :)) .
> ObConlang: How about extending this negation raising to all such > contexts? > In such a language, "I don't know that George Washington is alive" > actually > means, or could mean, that you know he is dead (whereas in English it > can only mean you actually don't know). >
Well, since it's a sentence of mine which raised that point, be sure that Maggel is gonna be filled with it ;)))) . Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>