Double negatives

The Oxford philosopher J. L. Austin was giving a lecture in New York to a group of fellow philosophers. In it he raised the question of double negatives. ‘In some languages,’ said he in his precise Oxford voice, ‘a double negative yields an affirmative. In others it yields a more emphatic negative. But I know of no language in which a double affirmative yields an negative.’ From the back of the hall came a drawling professorial Brooklyn accent: ‘yeah, yeah’.

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13 Comments

Filed under Anecdotes

13 responses to “Double negatives

  1. claire2

    Nice one, Brendano! French, obviously, uses two parts to make a whole negative with the ne and the pas…although in speech, the ne is generally dropped.
    I’m enjoying my little visits to your site more and more actually! It’s how MyT used to be – literary/arty. Butthat would be pre spam, trolls and Tories… 🙂

  2. Pseu

    How do I install the ‘recent comments’ side bar into my blog?

  3. Thanks, Pseu and Claire. Claire, I’m bound to blow it at some point by posting a load of crap. 🙂

    Pseu, click on ‘My Dashboard’ and then ‘Widgets’ (under ‘Appearance’, on the left). Drag ‘Recent Comments’ to the sidebar on the right.

  4. Pseu

    I have just sorted it out…. !

  5. Pseu

    Do you realise that the
    “Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)” takes you straight to the same story, told by someone else?

  6. I do now, Pseu. Oh well!

  7. claire2

    Well I do enjoy chatting to you over here; it’s nice to talk in civilised manner.
    You on Facebook, by the way?

  8. No, I’m not on Facebook, Claire, though my daughter is. I’d be afraid I’d spend too much time on it … blogging is bad enough. 🙂

  9. claire2

    Well I’ll send you an email then…
    yes blogging is bad enough I agree. In fact I’m going to ditch it for a while I think. I’ll pop in here though – I enjoy your posts 😉

  10. OK, Claire … thanks. 🙂

  11. jaimeatdnmyt

    Ha ha. I can just hear it!

  12. jaime … yeah, yeah. 🙂

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