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I don't want to look stupid, but irregardless I want to know

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:11 pm

I'm glad to see you here, Anders. I was going to send you an email, but I see that's not necessary.

No, I wasn't invited by Dr. Language. I guess I'm a persona non grata.

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notifications and invites

Postby KatyBr » Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:17 pm

I think Dr. Language just popped in real quick to the old Agira to tell as many as possible about the great news, and emiled those whose emails he had in his personal addressbook.

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Old double negative joke....

Postby eberntson » Thu Feb 17, 2005 12:25 pm

A professor of English is giving a lecture in an introductory course. He explains that in the English language (which is unlike many other languages in this respect) a double negative equals a positive declaration.

He pauses, and says, "It just occurred to me that in English there is no such thing as a double positive that equals a negative."

Someone in the back of the room raises his voice and says, "Yeah. Right."
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Postby Apoclima » Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:09 pm

Very good joke, Eric!

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joke

Postby KatyBr » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:16 pm

funny, it takes a second or two to pick up on.

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Postby anders » Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:37 pm

Slavic and Baltic languages can have double or even triple negatives, still meaning no more than a Germanic single negative.

The heaped negation is in fact unique to Balto-Slavic languages among the IE ones: Latv. vins nekad neka nezina ’he never knows anything’ = Ru. on nikogda nitchego ne znaet.
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Postby Verbum » Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:08 pm

"Regardless" means "without regard to". "Irregardless" simply says the opposite. Webster's says the latter originated under the influence of "irrespective". It does not however condemn it, merely recording that it is used primarily in speech.

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Postby badandy » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:39 pm

ive heard that English and Mandarin are the only (well-known) languages that observe the logical neg+neg=pos construction.

Unfortunately, if an 'incorrect' usage is more common than a 'correct' one, the names don't apply any more.
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Oct 25, 2005 1:56 pm

badandy wrote:ive heard that English and Mandarin are the only (well-known) languages that observe the logical neg+neg=pos construction.

. . .


Oh, Lord; I think I just marked myself as a hopeless technophile. Even though Calculus was my first academic downfall, I think I perceive an algebraic explantion for the double-negative conundrum.

In languages where a double- or triple-negative merely marks an increasingly negative meaning, this amounts to an additive algorythm; the sum of any number of negative numbers is always negative, and increasingly so.

In languages where a double-negative equals a positive and a triple negative equals a negative, this amounts to a multiplicative algorythm; the product of two (or an even number of) negative numbers is always positive, the product of three (or an odd number of) negative numbers is alway negative.

I leave it to the linguistic theoritians amongst us to explain how i, the imaginary number corresponding to the square root of -1, comes into play here.
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Postby anders » Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:41 am

badandy wrote:ive heard that English and Mandarin are the only (well-known) languages that observe the logical neg+neg=pos construction.

Unless there is a subtle nuance escaping me here, I think it is hard to find languages outside the Slavic sphere that don't make a negative negate a previous negative. I find for example that English and Mandarin double negatives translate in the same way into Swedish.
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Postby Spiff » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:14 am

In spoken Dutch (or maybe it's a Flemish thing?) everyone uses multiple negatives the Russian way. In written Dutch, however, it's considered wrong.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:11 am

Yeah, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Romanian also have double and triple negatives. French doesn't have them and supposedly neither Italian, but you can find them in "substandard" Italian.

Portuguese: Não vejo nunca ninguém interessante aqui.*
Spanish: No veo nunca a nadie interesante aquí.*
Catalan: No veig mai ningú interessant aquí.
Romanian: Nu văd niciodată nimeni interessant aici.
Colloquial Italian: Non vedo mai nessuno d'interessante qui.
English: I don't never see nobody interesting here. :)

*These two sentences are normally rendered [i]Nunca vejo ninguém interessante aqui/Nunca veo a nadie interesante aquí.

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Last edited by Brazilian dude on Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:17 am

And I would also like to point out that Stargzer's post was pure genious. His comment is corroborated by Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage, which states, among other things under the heading double negative:

"...It was later and lesser grammarians that made absolute the dictum about two negatives making a positive. From the absolute position that the statement is based on logic. As Lamberts 1972 has pointed out, it all depends on what logic you choose. Two negatives may make a positive in the logic of Latin grammar, but not in the logic of algebra: -a + =a = -2a. Algebraic logic yields approximately the same results as the old multiple negative - simply a stronger negative..."

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:13 am

REMEMBER: Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do! :lol:
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Postby sluggo » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:36 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:Yeah, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Romanian also have double and triple negatives. French doesn't have them and supposedly neither Italian, but you can find them in "substandard" Italian.


Beg to differ, Braz; French does indeed do dem double don'ts (ne pas fumer, je ne sais rien = don't not smoke/I don't know nothing).

My pet peeve in this heading is "could care less" to mean exactly the opposite.

Stargzer, your thinking on this topic is neither unlucid nor unfascinating :lol:
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