Archive for Misnegation

Misunderestimation of the month

"Scottish parliament to seek new independence vote despite UK government rebuff", Reuters 3/22/2017:

Holding a non-binding referendum would be damaging, argues Stephen Tierney, Professor of Constitutional Theory at Edinburgh Law School, because it would not provide certainty in a highly divisive situation.  

"The central importance of commonly agreed rules and a neutral referee in a situation of deep disagreement when the stakes are high cannot be under-estimated," he said.

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"Denying that he was not anti-gay or anti-women"

Matt Apuzzo, "Under Trump, Approach to Civil Rights Law Is Likely to Change Definitively", NYT 1/19/2017:

At this confirmation hearing, Mr. Sessions harkened to the era of segregation in arguing that there was no need for the federal government to become involved in prosecuting crimes against women or gay people that were already being prosecuted locally. “I am not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination. I just don’t see it,” Mr. Sessions said, denying that he was anti-gay or anti-women.

According to Larry Horn, the last clause originally featured an additional not:

“I am not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination. I just don’t see it,” Mr. Sessions said, denying that he was not anti-gay or anti-women.

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Negative concord at the New Republic?

Jess Row, "What Are White Writers For?", The New Republic 9/30/2016:

It was around this time that I first realized something nonwhite writers learn almost by default: for a fiction writer to deny that fiction is in some way political—in the sense of existing in an inherently politicized world—is not only an act of bad faith but a kind of artistic failure. How can we not, as writers, grasp that our own political existence, our own subjectivity, our citizenship, our racial and cultural identities, and the arguments of our time, are not material for our art, that these things are in some sense not all part of one ongoing conversation?
 [emphasis added]

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Trump the hypernegator?

In addition to the many "nots" he uttered in last night's debate, Trump poured on the negations in this tweet today:

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"No telling is neither complete nor accurate"

Emily Yahr, "Read George W. Bush’s speech at the African American Museum, 13 years after signing the bill to build it", Washington Post 9/24/2016:

Our country is better and more vibrant because of their contributions and the contributions of millions of African Americans. No telling of American history is neither complete nor accurate without acknowledging them.

Full audio is here.

Daniel Deutsch sent me the link, with the comment that "Bush 43 gave a beautiful speech at the museum opening, but this seems overly negative" — referring to the "No telling … is neither complete nor accurate" phrase.

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Good to know

According to my iPhone-bearing sources, iOS 10.0.2

Addresses an issue that could prevent headphone audio controls from temporarily not working

I hate it when audio controls are prevented from temporarily not working, don't you?

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Never not stop… uhh… Come again?

One of the shows in the upcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe, by the three-man Australian musical comedy ensemble The Axis of Awesome, is called "Won't Ever Not Stop Giving Up."

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Waste bin misnegation

I saw a sticker on the lid of a pedal-operated hospital waste bin that said this:

THIS SACK HOLDER IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE FOOT OPERATED ONLY. THE LID MUST NOT BE HAND OPERATED AND PUSHED PAST THE POINT WHERE IT WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY RETURN TO THE CLOSED POSITION.

Everyone who uses the bin sees this notice; maybe some even read it and try to respect it; but perhaps only Language Log readers will notice that it contains a misnegation — another sign that the number of negations within a sentence that our poor monkey brains can successfully handle averages out at little more than 1.

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Lost and found

In the 10/4/15 issue of the Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn has a sympathetic look at Chinglish:  "Cultural sensitivity lost — and found — in translation".  He offers the following sign at a museum near Datong as a prime specimen:

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