LINGUIST List 11.2497

Sat Nov 18 2000

Qs: Spanglish Authors, Positive/Negative Certainty

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  1. Elina Lopez, Spanglish authors
  2. Phil Gaines, Don't expect/expect not to

Message 1: Spanglish authors

Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 09:01:07 EET
From: Elina Lopez <elina_lopezhotmail.com>
Subject: Spanglish authors

I am currently beginning my master's
thesis on Spanglish, and I am now
desperately looking for some Spanglish
resources. What I need is names of novels
that have been written in Spanglish. The
main language should be Spanish, where
English words etc. have been adapted.

Can anyone help me? I would be very
grateful for any information!

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Elina Lopez (elina_lopezhotmail.com)
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Message 2: Don't expect/expect not to

Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 18:51:18 -0700
From: Phil Gaines <gainesenglish.montana.edu>
Subject: Don't expect/expect not to

I'm not a semanticist, so please ignore this question if is a total bore. I
need to articulate something in a better way to one of my graduate students.

How does one tease out the difference(s) in meaning between these two
sentences:

1) "I don't expect to see you here next year."
2) "I expect not to see you here next year."

Simply in terms of the un/certainty of the speaker with respect to the
future, if the second sentence expresses stronger certainty--as it does in
my intuition--how do we account formally for this difference? Is it a
simple rule or two on the position and scope of negatives? If we take
"expect" as the verb which projects transitivity forward through the rest of
the sentence, then what is the modality around "expect"; in other words,
what is the relation between degree of certainty and what the categorial and
lexical items are in NP + V... (extracted from VP)? "I expect" is a
positive statement of certainty: There is a considerably greater likelihood
of this happening than not--enough of a likelihood that I would be surprised
if it did not happen. If it were done ten times and the outcome were not
considerably unbalanced in favor of one of them, that would surprise me. "I
don't expect" is a negative statement of certainty: There is not a
considerably greater likelihood of this happening than not. Neither outcome
would surprise me. If it were done ten times and the outcome were always
considerably unbalanced in favor of one of them, that would surprise me.
Therefore, if "I expect" indicates greater certainty, that would explain the
greater certainty observed in 2).

Is variation among lexical items for the verb significant? Is this the same
is essence as the non-synonymy of "happy/not unhappy"?

Phil Gaines
Montana State University
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