Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 22:18:35 -0600


Subject: Re: Double negatives (was one as a pronoun?)

Using computational linguistics logic to translate Spanish or any other

language is to apply a secondary system to a primary (nonlogical, in

the syllogistic sense) one--perhaps a worthwhile endeavor. But we

can't make the primary system over to fit our computer "logic"; the

language is what it is--no one can't never turn no natural language

into no artificial one nohow. (BTW, that's six negatives; by

mathematical logic I guess the meaning is therefore positive: 2 neg. =

pos., 3 neg.=neg., 4 neg.=pos.,... Labov demonstrated 30 years ago

that Black English speakers' triple and quadruple negatives still meant

negative, and so do my six.)

In the plenary session at the Mid-America Lingusitics Conference two weeks

ago, James McCawley demonstrated that words and logical operators do not

work exactly alike.