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All right, me lovelies...

....linguistic opinions needed again from the native English speakers among you.

Scenario: Jack goes to the Land of Far, Far Away and sees the Firebird, the Phoenix, and the Hippogriff. Lily then goes there and sees the Firebird and the Phoenix, but not the Hippogriff.

Final State of Affairs:
Jack --> Firebird, Phoenix, Hippogriff.
Lily --> Firebird, Phoenix

A dwarf of questionable reliability comes up to you, commenting on this state of affairs.

Dwarf: "Lily saw what Jack saw in the Land of Far, Far Away."

Is what the dwarf said true or false?


A different dwarf, also of questionable reliability, comes up to you and responds to the original dwarf's comment.

Dwarf v.2: "Lily didn't see what Jack saw in the Land of Far, Far Away."

Is what this second dwarf said true or false?

As always, thank you for your linguistic indulgence.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:28 pm (UTC)
Not native. Have been studying language since age 7, however.

What both said are true. Neither of them used any qualifiers. If the first dwarf had something like "all of" anywhere in his sentence, it would be false. If the second dwarf had something like "any of", it would be false. As it is, both are true statements.
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC)
1. No. Lily did not see the Hippogriff. Jack saw something that Lily did not see.

2. Well, only sort of. It's a half-truth. Though she saw some of what Jack saw, she did not see all of what Jack saw.
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC)
My sentiments exactly.
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:50 pm (UTC)
I'd say that what the first dwarf said is false, and what the second dwarf said is true.
Oct. 19th, 2004 12:52 pm (UTC)
Both are false. Well, neither are completely true, anyway;-)
Oct. 19th, 2004 01:00 pm (UTC)
the first one is false, the second one is true.
Oct. 19th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC)
I think that, too.
Oct. 19th, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC)
Lily saw what Jack saw: False. I think that the phrasing implies "...all that Jack saw".

Lilly didn't see what Jack saw: Dubious but overall false. The phrasing implies that you mean "Lilly didn't see anything that Jack saw", more than it doesn't. :-P

Sentence 3: "Lilly didn't see what Jack saw in that strumpet of a demon."
Oct. 19th, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC)
Tsk, the demon strumpets!
Oct. 19th, 2004 02:35 pm (UTC)
Dwarf v.1: partially true. she saw some but not all of what jack saw so the statement isn't entirely true, but it also isn't false.
Dwarf v.2: untrue. he's categorically stating that she absolutely did not see what jack saw, when in fact she saw 2/3 of what jack saw.

Oct. 20th, 2004 06:07 am (UTC)
1. No. Since Lily didn't see the Hippogriff, then the statement isn't correct. To say that Lily saw what Jack saw would be all-inclusive, which isn't right.

2. Sort of... but this one is much tougher; because similarly the statement implies all-inclusiveness, which would flat out make the statement incorrect, but it doesn't feel right to toss this statement out because it's open to interpretation. If I had to label it, I would say strictly false but conversationally true.

And if you see Jack and Lily again, tell them to ring before visiting next time! I'll bake a cake. ^_^
Oct. 21st, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
My opinion seems to match the "thus-far majority".

With close examination and specific explanation, both statements could be true. However, when I think about them from a "do the statements sound true or false without all of the geeky analysis" perspective, I've got to admit that they both sound false.

I agree that they did not use qualifiers, but I think that is more of an argument for considering them to be false. Without a "qualifier" or a specific "quantity" being specified, I think that the only thing the reader can do is assume that the speaker means "all".
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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Jalen Strix

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