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Once again, I canvas the native speakers among you (and non-native speakers with near-native fluency) for your linguistic judgments. (Though I do ask you to tell me if you're non-native with near-native fluency just in case this ends up marking a difference in judgment.)

Also: If you have had serious logic/semantics background, could you also let me know? (I suspect this might have more influence than the native/non-native difference.)

I thank you all in advance, and give you heaps of academic love.




Scenario

Jack travels to the Land of Far, Far Away, and sees the Firebird, the Griffin, and the Unicorn.


Lily is talking with Hoggle, a dwarf of dubious reliability.
Lily: "What did Jack see in the Land of Far, Far Away?"
Hoggle: "Jack saw the Firebird and the Griffin."

Question 1: Was Hoggle telling the truth?

Higgle, another dwarf of dubious reliability, turns to Sarah and says, "Hoggle told Lily what Jack saw in the Land of Far, Far Away."

Question 2: Was Higgle telling the truth?


Haggle, a third dwarf of dubious reliability, runs up to Sarah and says, "Hoggle didn't tell Lily what Jack saw in the Land of Far, Far Away."

Question 3: Was Haggle telling the truth?

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
y2kdragon
Oct. 26th, 2004 08:04 am (UTC)
1. Yes, but not the whole truth.

2. No, since in this case, the first dwarf did not tell everything that Jack saw.

3. Yes, but again, only in part, since Hoggle forgot about the Unicorn.
verlaine
Oct. 26th, 2004 08:44 am (UTC)
This is close enough to the answers I'd give that I don't feel any great need to post again.

I was a scholar of classical languages at a good university for the subject (Oxford), so I feel I have a claim to know roughly what I'm talking about, even though I'm not strictly an expert on logic/semantics ;)
y2kdragon
Oct. 26th, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)
Yay, so an Oxford Scholar agrees with me.
My high school English teacher would be proud of me.
*grin*
amalthya
Oct. 26th, 2004 10:18 am (UTC)
I'd also concur with this.
(Deleted comment)
halophoenix
Oct. 26th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC)
^^^ WIN. (i mean, i concur)
radhardened
Oct. 26th, 2004 08:28 am (UTC)
My answers to all three questions would be Yes, although, like the other respondents, I wouldn't say that Higgle and Haggle were completely truthful.
insheepsclothng
Oct. 26th, 2004 09:57 am (UTC)
(non-native speaker)

Q1: Yes, most of the truth.
Q2: Yes, most again.
Q3: No, clearly untrue.
silmaril
Oct. 26th, 2004 11:24 am (UTC)
Responses to 1, 2 and 3 respectively: Yes, yes and no. Again with the lack of the qualifiers, as with your last Jack and Lily and dwarf story: Hoggle didn't say "only", so he was telling the truth; Higgle didn't say "all of", so he was telling the truth; Haggle didn't say "some of", so his statement was false.

Non-native with near-native fluency; I don't know if having studied Boolean logic and designed digital circuits counts as a "serious logic background" but I have a feeling it doesn't.
underwatercolor
Oct. 26th, 2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
Grr. Someday I want to actually answer one of these. ;)
thewronghands
Oct. 26th, 2004 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, no.
capfox
Oct. 26th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)
I think you already know about my background in those areas. =P

1. I'd say yes (even if it's partial, he's not leaving anything out).
2. I'd say yes here, too.
3. Partial truths don't buy you a yes; this one's a no.
stillvisions
Oct. 26th, 2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, No, Yes.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2004 11:17 am (UTC)
What do you presuppose these dwarves are talking about?
Hoggle's statement is true in the generative semantics, meaning dependant on truth conditions, sort of way. But Grice would be screaming "he's a sneek, and I'll tell you why. He's not obeying the conversational maxims that motivate and govern human language! Hoggle is avoiding the maxim of quantity, which requires us to be as informative as required, while making our contribution no more informative than necessary." Yup, that's what Grice would say.

There is an implicature attached to that statement saying, "I've told you all the relevant things Jack saw." Take that as you will in regard to truth.

As for
(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC)
Re: What do you presuppose these dwarves are talking about?
Never type on laptops. It takes the dexterity of an elf to find the damn keys, and avoid sending messages prematurely.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 27th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC)
What do you presuppose these dwarves are talking about?
Hoggle's statement is true in the generative semantics, meaning dependant on truth conditions, sort of way. But Grice would be screaming "he's a sneek, and I'll tell you why. He's not obeying the conversational maxims that motivate and govern human language! Hoggle is avoiding the maxim of quantity, which requires us to be as informative as required, while making our contribution no more informative than necessary." Yup, that's what Grice would say.

There is an implicature attached to that statement saying, "I've told you all the relevant things Jack saw." Take that as you will in regard to truth.

As for question 2, same deal.

Question 3 is more interesting, and I'm not sure. My feeling is that if you read it with metalinguistic negation, you get a true statement.

RB
jalenstrix
Oct. 27th, 2004 09:46 pm (UTC)
Re: What do you presuppose these dwarves are talking about?
Hush, you - giving away all my secrets about conversational implicatures. [grin]

But good - I'm glad question 3 is different than the previous 2, even to someone well-versed in semantics.
However, I think I need to have some way to gauge truthfulness, since these aren't very easy to classify as true or false as such. I feel the beginnings of a truth scale coming on....
;)
serkalove
Oct. 28th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC)
if in that u say truth is simply not untrue than each statement is true, but if u are saying that truth is the most completely and total answer than none were true. any lawyer will tell u those dwarves are truthful little creatures
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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