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A Quick Question [linguistics foo]

This one's really much easier, I swear it.

Again, I ask you to tell me if you're a native or non-native speaker and not to look at anyone else's answers before you give your own.

Lily, the princess of the realm, is given her choice of rings for her birthday. She can choose any of them she wants, and she can choose more than one if she wants. (Basically, she gets whichever one(s) she wants - it's good to be the princess.) Several dwarf smiths have spent the year working on rings of exquisite caliber. They present Lily with a garnet ring, a moonstone ring, an opal ring, and an onyx ring.

The head dwarf smith, Hoggle, is fairly sure he knows Lily's taste in rings. He says (rather snootily), "If Lily chooses the opal ring or the onyx ring, I'll run naked around the castle."

Lily comes in, sees the rings, and chooses both the opal ring and the onyx ring.

Question 1: Is Hoggle going to be running around the castle sans attire?

Higgle, another dwarf smith, goes to the king to report on which ring(s) Lily chose. Higgle, however, is a dwarf with a tricksy streak. He says to the king: "Lily chose the opal ring or the onyx ring."

Question 2: Is Higgle misleading the king?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
My Intuitions
1. Hoggle is definitely going to be making the castle rounds without his clothing.
2. Higgle is misleading the king - he's implying Lily didn't choose both rings.
Nov. 2nd, 2004 08:58 am (UTC)
Re: My Intuitions
^^^ THIS WOMAN KNOWS THINGS. ^_~ (read: I agree)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 1st, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC)
Is this a 'do you believe in or versus x-or' question?
Effectively, yes. It's a question of exclusive-or existing in standard conversational contexts.
Nov. 1st, 2004 07:10 am (UTC)
1. Of course.
2. Yes. (Not logically, of course, but if we're speaking English, then yes, it's misleading.)

Non-native speaker.
Nov. 1st, 2004 07:12 am (UTC)
Hoggle will indeed be running naked.
Higgle is sort of misleading the king, because he's implying that she chose one but not the other.


p.s. i am a native speaker
Nov. 1st, 2004 07:48 am (UTC)
I'm a native English speaker.

Q1: Yes.
Q2: Yes.
Nov. 1st, 2004 07:59 am (UTC)
Native speaker

1: Hoggle will be making the news wearing just his tennis shoes.

2: If Lily was still waffling between the two, then Higgle's report would be correct. Since Lily can choose as many as she wants, "or" is misleading.
Nov. 1st, 2004 08:00 am (UTC)
Alright. I'll answer this one. English 'or' is ambiguously exclusive. It can mean "one but not the other" or "one or both". Strictly, the first usage is more common, but both are valid (and most people don't even think about what they are saying ;). It would be valid to interpret these statements either way. However, since Hoggle didn't specify which he meant, the only honorable (to say nothing of desirable) thing to do is to run around naked.

Previous questions are very similar in their ambiguity. I note that someone who gives incomplete or ambiguous information cannot without more context be called a liar. The question becomes one of intent. Someone who is confused, unclear, ambiguous, or all three (^.^) is not said to be lying, even if the information is not strictly true. Intent to mislead is key. I feel the tricksy of this Question 2 includes that intent, assuming the narrator is not misleading the readers. ;)

(Native speaker and computer programmer.)

*hugs* :)
Nov. 1st, 2004 08:09 am (UTC)

1. yes
2. yes

These felt pretty straight-forward, more so than the last batch.
Nov. 1st, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)
I am a native speaker.

1. Yes.
2. Yes.

(Yes, it is weird that I allow the first to be non-exclusive but not the second. Logically, it doesn't make sense. But I'm trying not to let logic get in the way;-))
Nov. 1st, 2004 10:40 am (UTC)
Hoggle goes streaking, and Higgle seems indeed to be misleading the king.
Nov. 1st, 2004 12:57 pm (UTC)
Yes, and no, but only on a technicality. (Can I answer "yes and sort of"?)
Nov. 1st, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC)
Can I answer "yes and sort of"?

[wry grin] I'd rather you stuck with yes and no, given this conversational context.
Nov. 1st, 2004 02:45 pm (UTC)
I'd say Hoggle will be naked, and higgle is being misleading.
And I'm a native english speaker.
Nov. 1st, 2004 05:14 pm (UTC)
Native English speaker.

1. Yes.
2. Yes.

Nov. 2nd, 2004 10:36 am (UTC)

Question 1: Yes. Boolean-algebra-wise, A ^ B = 1 if A=1 or if B=1 or both.
Question 2: Yes. Use of "or" that way implies "one of", to my ear. But not in the sentence for Question 1, where the "if" seems to make all the difference to my logic-procession bits.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
Native speaker

Hoggle will be streaking..she did choose the opal ring and she did choose the onyx ring, meeting the conditions for the streakage.

Higgle is misleading, implying that only one was chosen...the natural "rest of the sentence" we can assume would be "...I don't remember which one"
Nov. 7th, 2004 10:14 pm (UTC)
Hello! I found you on random and thought I could perhaps help you out.
I am a native speaker of English.
1. Hoggle is technically exempt from running around naked, as Lilly choose both rings and he promised if she choose one or the other.
2. Higgle is not lying, but is not telling the whole truth, either.

So. I hope that was helpful. I'll help more if it's needed.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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