[Ads-l] No = 'yes; truly'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 26 20:18:14 EDT 2017


I’m (still) with Dan on this.  This strikes me as an instance of metalinguistic negation, as in (attested examples):

“Did you like coffee?”
“No, I don’t *like* coffee. [pause.]  I *love* coffee.”

“That wasn’t a *bad* year.  That was *horrible*.”

“I’m not *happy* he’s gone--I’m *elated*.”

And here’s one a bit closer to the one we’re discussing—actually, not a *bit* closer, a *lot* closer:

"Is this kind of like cricket?"
"It's not kind of like cricket. It is cricket.”
http://www.subzin.com/quotes/M12395b76c/Heavy+Weights/It%27s+not+kind+of+like+cricket.

Or, if you prefer,
TOPIC:              "D.Va's "Bang" voice line is sort of obnoxious:
One response:  "It's not sort of obnoxious, it is.”

There’s nothing un-English about this device in which a predication is rejected not because it’s false but because it’s too weak, although it sometimes involves a garden path.  While the respondents in the last two exchanges don’t say “No, it *is* cricket.” Or “No, it is (obnoxious)”.   But they could have.

LH




> On Oct 26, 2017, at 4:23 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> I disagree with your first statement. So did the speaker. So no still means
> no.
> 
> 
> 
> DanG
> 
> On Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 4:21 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> "It's kind of embarrassing. Isn't it?" = "Don't you agree it's
>> embarrassing?"
>> 
>> Regardless, she explicitly agrees with the premise that it's embarrassing.
>> "No" must mean "Yes" or "Yes indeed; absolutely." Either that or it's a
>> meaningless expletive.
>> 
>> "No" is absurdly out of place by conventional standards.
>> 
>> But not by contemporary standards, as this thread shows.
>> 
>> 
>> JL
>> 
>> On Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 2:25 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> I don't see where "Don't you agree it's embarrassing?" was asked.
>>> 
>>> I see "...it's kind of embarrassing for the Democrats. Isn't it?", and in
>>> that context I think the answer makes sense.
>>> 
>>> DanG
>>> 
>>> On Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 1:01 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
>> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> I don't follow you.
>>>> 
>>>> The question to be answered is, "Don't you agree it's embarrassing?"
>>> Ans.:
>>>> "No, it *is* embarrassing."
>>>> 
>>>> JL
>>>> 
>>>> On Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 12:50 PM, Laurence Horn <
>> laurence.horn at yale.edu>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Aha.  I missed the contrastive stress on *is* on first reading.  On
>>>> second
>>>>> reading: No, I agree with Dan.
>>>>> 
>>>>> LH
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Oct 26, 2017, at 11:45 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I read it differently.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> The question was, " it's kind of embarrassing for the Democrats.
>>> Isn't
>>>>> it?"
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> The answer was, "No, it *is* embarrassing." I read that as "No,
>> it's
>>>> not
>>>>>> *kind of* embarrassing, it *is* embarrassing."
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> DanG
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 7:43 PM, Laurence Horn <
>>> laurence.horn at yale.edu
>>>>> 
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On Oct 25, 2017, at 7:06 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
>>>> wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Barron-Lopez was answering the question “Isn’t it?”  Since the
>>>>>>>> (apparently) correct answer was “It is,” she could have answered
>>>> either
>>>>>>>> “Yes, it is” or “No, it is.”
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> I don't see "No, it is" as a possibility.  In fact, it seems
>>> totally
>>>>>>>> impossible to me.
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> JL
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Agreed; plus I’m not sure where the fail is in answering “Isn’t
>> it?”
>>>>>>> negatively by responding “No, it isn’t”.  What’s more complicated
>> is
>>>> if
>>>>> the
>>>>>>> original question doesn’t have a contraction.  As an answer to
>> “Did
>>>> you
>>>>> not
>>>>>>> remember to take out the trash?” I can imagine either “No, I DID
>>>>> remember”
>>>>>>> or “No, I didn’t remember”.   But if the question had been “Didn’t
>>> you
>>>>>>> remember to take out the trash?” only the latter is possible (or,
>> of
>>>>> course
>>>>>>> “Yes, I remembered”).
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> LH
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 3:07 PM, Baker, John <
>> JBAKER at stradley.com>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Barron-Lopez was answering the question “Isn’t it?”  Since the
>>>>>>>>> (apparently) correct answer was “It is,” she could have answered
>>>>> either
>>>>>>>>> “Yes, it is” or “No, it is.”  English seems to fail when the
>>> correct
>>>>>>> answer
>>>>>>>>> to “Isn’t it?” is “It is not.”
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> John Baker
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]
>> On
>>>>>>> Behalf
>>>>>>>>> Of Jonathan Lighter
>>>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2017 12:31 PM
>>>>>>>>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>>>>>>>> Subject: Re: No = 'yes; truly'
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> External Email - Think Before You Click
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> John King, CNN: But, politically, it's kind of embarrassing for
>>> the
>>>>>>>>> Democrats. Isn't it?
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> Laura Barron-Lopez, _Washington Examiner_ (b. ca.1990?): No, it
>>> *is*
>>>>>>>>> embarrassing. It's another thing that's added to the long list
>> of
>>>> why
>>>>>>> can't
>>>>>>>>> the Clinton campaign, you know, say what they're doing or be
>>> honest
>>>>>>> about
>>>>>>>>> something.
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> JL
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> On Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 7:21 AM, Berson at att.net<mailto:Berson@
>>>> att.net>
>>>>> <
>>>>>>>>> Berson at att.net<mailto:Berson at att.net>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> No, no, no, no, no ... yes.
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Joel
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE Smartphone
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> ------ Original message------
>>>>>>>>>> *From: *Jonathan Lighter
>>>>>>>>>> *Date: *Sun, Nov 6, 2016 3:02 PM
>>>>>>>>>> *To: *ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:*ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>;
>>>>>>>>>> *Subject:*Re: [ADS-L] No = 'yes; truly'
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> Chuck Todd on _Meet the Press_: "They were huge for Obama,
>> [but]
>>>>>>>>> they'vebeen stagnant this cycle."Tom Brokaw: "No, they have
>>>>> been."Brokaw
>>>>>>>>> went on to elaborate the stagnation.JLJLOn Wed, May 4, 2016 at
>>> 11:56
>>>>> PM,
>>>>>>>>> Wilson Gray wrote:> On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 12:18 PM, Jonathan
>>>> Lighter
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> wrote:>> > On Sun, May 1, 2016 at 9:03 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:>
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> Is
>>>>>>>>> this a variant?> > >> > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?
>>>> v=V5GSq4Hea6E
>>>>> <
>>>>>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5GSq4Hea6E>> >>> So, it's
>> *not*
>>> a
>>>>>>>>> variant. The Magic version is commonplace among the> colored.
>>> Yeah,
>>>>>>> naw.>>>
>>>>>>>>> --> -Wilson> -----> All say, "How hard it is that we have to
>>>> die!"---a
>>>>>>>>> strange complaint to> come from the mouths of people who have
>> had
>>> to
>>>>>>> live.>
>>>>>>>>> -Mark Twain>> ------------------------------
>>>>>>> ------------------------------>
>>>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<
>>>>>>>>> http://www.americandialect.org>>-- "If the truth is half as bad
>>> as
>>>> I
>>>>>>>>> think it is, you can't handle the truth."-----------------------
>>>>>>>>> -------------------------------------The American Dialect
>>> Society -
>>>>>>>>> http://www.americandialect.org<http://www.americandialect.org>
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle
>>> the
>>>>>>> truth."
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org<
>>>>>>>>> http://www.americandialect.org>
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle
>> the
>>>>>>> truth."
>>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>> 
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> --
>>>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
>>> truth."
>>>> 
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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