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From:Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>
Date:Monday, February 24, 2003, 1:11
David Barrow wrote:
> Joe wrote: > > >>On Sunday 23 February 2003 9:48 pm, David Barrow wrote: >> >>>Muke Tever wrote: >>> >>>>From: "David Barrow" <davidab@...> >>>> >>>>>However, if people think about it, there is something illogical about >>>>>the construction "i don't think........" rather than "I >>>>>think......not..."; after >>>> >>>>all if >>>> >>>> >>>>>we have an opinion or belief about a negative we still have an opinion >>>>>or >>>> >>>>belief, >>>> >>>> >>>>>don't we? >>>>> >>>>>Spanish also has both the logical "creo que no..." and the illogical >>>>>"no creo que..." >>>> >>>>I dont think it's *illogical* to say "I dont think [X]" ... taking this >>>>sentence as an example, I'm trying to say that while you may think it's >>>>illogical, that's not what I think. >>>> >>>>If the more common use of "I don't think [X]" is in contradiction to what >>>>someone _does_ think, it's likely that the use of the phrase'll just >>>>carry over to different kinds of sentences (if there are any... I cant >>>>atm.. just woke up). >>>> >>>> *Muke! >>>>-- >>>> >>> >>>I don't think she knows >>>I think she doesn´t know >>> >>>or your example >>> >>>I don't think it's illogical >>>I think it's not illogical >>> >>>They're illogical because "not" is negating the wrong verb >>> >>>compare >>>I don't insist you do that >>>I insist you don't do that >> >>But 'insist' has more than two possibilities. a) insist - positive b)don't >>insist - negative c)insist you don't - oppositional(I'm making up terms on >>the spot here, I'd be grateful if someone could help me out) >> >>However, with 'think', you only have two possibilities. Because if you don't >>think one is true, you obviously think it's not true. Therefore, the >>Negative and Oppositional have merged, and we just have picked the negative >>as the default. >> >>It's perfectly logical. >> > > > I could lack the opinion one way or the other as to whether something is true or > not, which would be the logical interpretation of I don't think > > My point is that we use I don't think not to indicate the absence of an opinion > but the presence of one. > > And I did ask about similar constructions in other languages including conlangs; > any replies?
I've been reading Palmer's _Mood and Modality_, and according to him it's called "negative raising" or "negative transportation"--the negation of the subordinate clause is "raised" to the main clause. Something similar happens in modal systems, where some negated modal verbs do double-duty: one form is used for both negation of necessity and possibility of a negated proposition, or vice versa.