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fun with English: triple negatives

 
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ejm
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: fun with English: triple negatives Reply with quote

Oh oh

for his signature in a newsgroup I read, someone wrote:
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don't give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.


Okay... I'm pretty sure I know what this fellow intends to be saying.

Do be open-minded or give
tolerance every chance nowhere??


no no no...

Don't give narrowmindedness or
intolerance every chance everywhere??


Oh my no no no...

Do give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance everywhere??

Oh dear oh dear no no no...


Surely there is an easier way to say it!


skip
stomp la la la stomp



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Barbara
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2007 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: fun with English: triple negatives Reply with quote

ejm wrote:
Oh oh

for his signature in a newsgroup I read, someone wrote:
Everyone is a stranger somewhere -
so don't give narrowmindedness or
intolerance no chance nowhere.


Yikes.

Using DeMorgan's Law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Morgan%27s_laws, we can change "don't give narrowmindedness or intolerance" to "give openmindedness and tolerance".*

So now we have "give openmindedness and tolerance no chance nowhere".

"give X no chance nowhere" = "there is nowhere that X should be given no chance" = "X should be given a chance everywhere"

"Give openmindedness and tolerance a chance everywhere." la la la

Hmm, that doesn't seem right.

* don't give narrowmindedness or intolerance
= don't give (not openmindedness or not tolerance)
= don't give not openmindedness and don't give not tolerance
= give openmindedness and give tolerance
= give openmindedness and tolerance


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David
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a negative is a negative and a double negative is a positive I would expect a triple negative to be a negative so...

If X = narrowmindedness, and Y = intolerance

then

don't give X or Y no chance = give X or Y a chance

so

give X or Y a chance nowhere = don't give X or Y a chance anywhere


hence

don't give narrowmindedness or intolerance a chance anywhere.


OR


If X = narrowmindedness, and Y = intolerance

then

don't give X and Y no chance nowhere = give X and Y no chance anywhere

hence

give narrowmindedness or intolerance no chance anywhere.

Which suggests that a triple negative is a positive. Huh? Why is one side of my brain sudden feeling very hot?


Edit: Also, why does it have to be either narrowmindedness or intolerance which has, or has not to be given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere? Couldn't both narrowmindedness and intolerance be given, or not given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere?
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ejm
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PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
[W]hy does it have to be either narrowmindedness or intolerance which has, or has not to be given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere? Couldn't both narrowmindedness and intolerance be given, or not given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere?


I KNEW there was something else about the statement that was bothering me!

Perhaps the "or" in "narrowmindedness or intolerance" is to allow for a loophole.

...if not giving narrowmindedness, don't give tolerance any chance anywhere.

or is it?

...if not giving narrowmindedness, give intolerance a chance everywhere.

Or have I still got it all wrong??

David wrote:
Which suggests that a triple negative is a positive.


This goes against everything I learned in math class: a negative multiplied by a negative is a positive; a negative multiplied by a positive is a negative. A negative added to a negative is even more negative (if that is even possible); another negative added to that negative is still more negative (once again if that is possible; after all, negative is negative. It can't be more negative.)

Therefore: with three negatives, the result is negative. (Isn't false logic fun?)

Ai yai yai! And then the question arises: WHAT should be negative?

David wrote:
Why is one side of my brain sudden feeling very hot?


This is completely different from what I'm experiencing. Why am I feeling a cold draft and hearing those whooshing whistling noises between my ears? skip



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PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

llizard wrote:
Therefore: with three negatives, the result is negative.

Exactly, hence my opening statement
David wrote:
I would expect a triple negative to be a negative

and my confusion
David wrote:
Huh?

at "proving" the opposite.
David wrote:
Which suggests that a triple negative is a positive.
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Barbara
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
give narrowmindedness or intolerance no chance anywhere.

Which suggests that a triple negative is a positive.


You've still got one negative ("no chance") so the result is still negative.

David wrote:

Also, why does it have to be either narrowmindedness or intolerance which has, or has not to be given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere? Couldn't both narrowmindedness and intolerance be given, or not given a chance, or no chance nowhere, or everywhere?


That makes both sides of my brain heat up. Owww.

Assuming my result was correct, where I also turned the implied negative words into positive ones (using ejm's "tolerance" and "openmindedness"), I got a positive answer
blm wrote:
"Give openmindedness and tolerance a chance everywhere."
which implies that negativity turns off and on as you add each negative. I find this soothing.


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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

blm wrote:
Assuming my result was correct, where I also turned the implied negative words into positive ones (using ejm's "tolerance" and "openmindedness"), I got a positive answer
blm wrote:
"Give openmindedness and tolerance a chance everywhere."
which implies that negativity turns off and on as you add each negative. I find this soothing.


Not me. It STILL makes what's left of my brain hurt.

stomp la la la stomp

Possibly there is still some bruising from the originally amazingly unwieldy statement. Or maybe I'm still reeling from this other even more confusing triple negative we overheard recently:

You can't never trust nobody.


(I'm not making it up!!)

Am I the only one who has noticed this trend or are triple negatives becoming the norm? Is it to emphasize the statement by making the listener have to repeat it over and over to ponder the actual meaning?



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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this is FAR too unwieldy for my poor little brain. When I got to David's post, I wanted to say "7!! The answer is 7!" I think I'm completely intolerant and narrowminded regarding this statement and I won't give it no chance. To almost quote a character in a book I didn't finish, I say, "My body rejects this."

oh boy! oh boy!


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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I'm wondering whether the original statement is a not a triple negative but actually a complicated double negative

Simplifying the original statement on the basis of a double negative acting on "chance" gives

"don't give [them] no chance nowhere" means "give [them] a chance nowhere" i.e. a statement against narrowmindedness or intolerance

and simplifying the original statement on the basis of a double negative acting on "where"

"don't give [them] no chance nowhere" means "give [them] no chance anywhere"i.e. a statement against narrowmindedness or intolerance

If my logic is sound it should also apply to the second statement if it is also a complicated double negative, not a triple negative.

Applying the double negative to "never"
"You can't never trust nobody." means "You can always trust nobody" i.e. a statement against trusting

Applying the double negative to "nobody"
"You can't never trust nobody." means "You can never trust anybody" i.e. a statement against trusting

Both versions seem to support the same point of view.

My brain cannot not not cope with this.
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CAM
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGH! Oh oh



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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2007 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CAM wrote:
AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGH!

Hmmm...
I was just thinking "What the heck am I talking about?"
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2007 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
CAM wrote:
AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGH!

Hmmm...
I was just thinking "What the heck am I talking about?"



I think a feast for everyone would resolve everything.



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PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2007 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful idea. Should I bring a dish?
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
Should I bring a dish?


Why stop at just one?


Who wouldn't never object to several dishes at a feast? whoo hoo!



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