Date: Fri, 7 Oct 1994 09:27:43 -0500 From: debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU Subject: Re: Name that syntagm >Okay, do the perfessional linguists (what's a "linguist"? That's another >list) have a technical term for phenomena like "I don't care (to)"? > >One big problem I've had with my Taiwanese students has been when they >offer to do something for me, and I say, "That's okay." > >My meaning: "No thank you, I don't want to put you to any trouble." > >Non-native speaker's (literal) interpretaion: "I accept your offer." > >Cf. could care less --> couldn't care less > >Got a name for it? > ---Wab. I've been looking for some time for a suitable name for words (or expressions) that mean both themselves and their opposites (literally, ravel, let, oversight -- see "A Literal Paradox" in _Declining Grammar_ [Urbana: NCTE 1989], pp.. 73-80). I've never encountered positive "I don't care to" until this discussion, but now I'm sure I'll notice it a lot (I still remember hearing my first might could about a week after I learned about double modals years ago). Anyway, if you can name that syntagm, maybe ADS will give you a prize at the annual new words meeting (are you listening, Alan?). Dennis -- Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of English 217-333-2392 University of Illinois fax: 217-333-4321 608 South Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801