[Ads-l] FWIW

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 30 16:59:32 UTC 2015


Ah, thanks, Ben.  Yes, "even" has stronger credentials for being a negative polarity item than "can't even".  It's still a bit of a leap from Gretchen's unexceptionable (if understandably oversimplified) "NPI stands for Negative Polarity Item, and they’re called that because they tend to be found in the scope of negation and serve to emphasize that negation" to Jessica Bennett's definition of negative polarity as involving "two negatives in a sentence", given that in both her case and Gretchen's examples the second negative isn't negative.  

LH

> On Nov 30, 2015, at 9:58 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> On Sun, Nov 29, 2015 at 7:50 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> 
>> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.nytimes.com_2015_11_29_fashion_death-2Dby-2Dinternet-2Dhyperbole-2Dliterally-2Ddying-2Dover-2Dthis-2Dcolumn.html&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=9NaTEE5gPuCfCtlg9zMZ8C3FGV7e_muSWuPPrIta4MM&s=TnMbelA5YEh0HQ4C9O1iZjS8nzFCrG4VBPMxnstiwig&e= 
>> 
>> (I didn't know the "kms" in "ugh so much homework kms" meant "killing
>> myself" and not "kilometers".  Or, for that matter, that "I can't even"
>> is an instance of "negative polarity, when there are two negatives in a
>> sentence."  That one is surprising for two reasons, both the definition
>> of "negative polarity" and the detection of two negatives in the
>> sentence.)
> 
> Looks like a bit of a misread of what Gretchen McCulloch (who's quoted
> in the piece) has written on "(can't) even":
> 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__allthingslinguistic.com_post_61793502009_giving-2Da-2Dshit-2Dabout-2Dnegative-2Dpolarity-2Ditems&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=9NaTEE5gPuCfCtlg9zMZ8C3FGV7e_muSWuPPrIta4MM&s=bWBNLllfbOK4N64pubzamIicV8k-1SaEOeBm7obru2M&e= 
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__mentalfloss.com_article_62284_why-2Dit-2Dyou-2Dcant-2Deven-2Dyou-2Dnever-2Dfind-2Dyou-2Dcan-2Deven&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=9NaTEE5gPuCfCtlg9zMZ8C3FGV7e_muSWuPPrIta4MM&s=zIFbkNT0QARQLEXDCFCWZMRo8IcBM2mjx-JuMUE61LQ&e= 
> 
> --bgz
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=9NaTEE5gPuCfCtlg9zMZ8C3FGV7e_muSWuPPrIta4MM&s=ryJuRKgj-DqwO4QsrbJf8xPgvDvATH42l4Ov4qnS0tY&e= 

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list