Author Topic: "Do you miss not having a job?"  (Read 7382 times)

Offline jkpate

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Re: "Do you miss not having a job?"
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2014, 05:42:47 PM »
One possibility is that "double negation" represents a different logic in the semantics. Another possibility is that "double negation" represents a different mapping from syntax to semantics. That is, two different language varieties might have the same logic in the semantics, but one variety has a syntax-semantics interface that maps "I didn't see no birds" to something like , and a different variety has a syntax-semantics interface that maps it to . Since we know that languages vary in their syntax-semantics mapping anyway, the second possibility might be more parsimonious.
All models are wrong, but some are useful - George E P Box

Offline Daniel

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Re: "Do you miss not having a job?"
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2014, 06:22:30 PM »
I think that's definitely true, although that presupposes that a formal semantics representation exists, which is probably true at least in some sense.
But I don't know whether we need special mappings-- the combinatorial possibilities work out if you assume that "no" can have different meanings in different varieties.


But for the original data in question, I still don't get it. Why does that sentence (more or less) work? Critically, it's ambiguous within the same dialects.
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Offline freknu

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Re: "Do you miss not having a job?"
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2014, 04:54:53 PM »
I just had an idea in the shower (a Eureka, you could say)

a.
  • I haven't got any money
  • I haven't got no money

b.
  • we won't have any of that
  • we won't have none of that

So continuing djr's idea —I can't remember the thread where we discussed it — it would indeed seem that "any" and "no" are related.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 05:03:08 PM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

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Re: "Do you miss not having a job?"
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2014, 05:00:38 PM »
Negative Polarity Items (like any) are triggered under Negative Polarity contexts (such as negation) and substitute for negative forms (like no). There's been a lot of research on this, although a number of questions remain (such as whether the two forms are exactly semantically equivalent, why other uses (eg, free-choice any "Have anything at all that you want!") are related, and exactly what defines Negative Polarity environments).
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