Negation raising (was: introduction)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 30, 2002, 19:21|
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 ...".
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. 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 ..."
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).
John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan firstname.lastname@example.org
To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are
no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that
they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. --The Hobbit