Why do you think he's still alive?

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Czwartek
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Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Czwartek »

Why do you think he's still alive?

Is there a language, natural or con, in which the natural translation of this sentence would indicate whether the speaker believes that he is still alive? If yours does, please give both the translation where the speaker believes it and where he doesn't.

While you may think it unusual for a language to naturally make this distinction, it occurred to me recently that English does make this distinction, or at least implies it, in the negative form. If somebody said Why don't you think he's still alive? it's likely that the speaker also believes him to be dead, and is asking for a likely cause of death. But if he said Why do you think he's not still alive? it's more likely that he doubts your belief that he's dead.

This is just my interpretation. I don't know if the two negated versions seem that way to you. Please also give the negative translation, and both versions if your lang indicates the belief of the speaker.
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by MrKrov »

It might be weird the way those questions can be asked in English but I don't see why why it'd be a rare "distinction". If nothing else paraphrasing should make that obvious.
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Trailsend »

I thought Ithkuil did something like this?


A couple of different mechanisms could supply this connotation in Feayran, but no single one really does it alone. Selection of stance register is one possibility--using the leading stance could imply that the speaker has a position of greater authority on the issue than the listener. That combined with the Háa interjection could create a tone of correction, implying that the speaker disagrees with the listener (and thinks that "he" is dead). Using the Náa interjection instead would have a more agreeable feel, implying that the speaker also thought that "he" was still alive.

In following register, the Déi explanatory interjection would be a more likely choice than Háa for implying disagreement.

Another option would be the interjection in either stance register, indicating that the speaker is surprised by the fact that the listener thinks the way he does (and therefore disagrees).

One more alternative would play on the idiomatic use of the root hash*, "to smell," to mean "to believe to be true." A translation of the sentence using this idiom would directly correspond to something like "On what did you smell the trace that he is still alive?" The trick would fall on the speaker's choice of smell classifier on the verb--the expected classifier would be the specific "trace" marker, but if the speaker thought that there was no way "he" was still alive, he could instead use the classifier for abstract, unsmellable things. That would tweak the meaning to something like "Where exactly did you smell this unsmellable trace that he is still alive?", giving a kind of sarcastic, indirect "you don't know what you're talking about" connotation.
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Ossicone »

Doesn't the choice of 'alive' indicate, at least some, preference on the speakers part that the person is alive. The negative implies his death because 'alive' is under the scope of the negation. 'Still' seems to add a negative emphasis switching the meaning around.

'Why do you think he's alive?' implies life to me.
'Why do you think he's dead?' implies death to me.

'Why don't you think he's alive?' implies death to me.
'Why don't you think he's dead?' implies life to me.

VS.

'Why do you think he's still alive?' implies death to me.
'Why do you think he's still dead?' implies life to me.

'Why don't you think he's still alive?' implies life to me.
'Why don't you think he's still dead?' implies death to me.
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Creyeditor »

I noticed that the English sentence is ambigious with regard to the scope of why. You could ask about the reason for thinking or the reason for being alive, IINM. I also noticed that Kobardon distinguishes between the two interpretations, because why in Kobardon is morphologically an intransitive verb and agrees with its subject or the subject of its main clause.

Kobardon
Rerapo ut demiio profar ut deuú?
re-rap-o ut de-mii-o prof-ar ut de-uú.
you-think-it to he-be_in_state-it alive-SG to it-why
Why do you think it is the case that he is still alive?


Rerapo ut demiio profar ut reuú?
re-rap-o ut de-mii-o prof-ar ut re-uú.
you-think-it to it-be_in_state-it alive-SG to you-why
Why is it the case that you think he is still allive?
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Khemehekis »

Creyeditor wrote: 19 Sep 2021 17:11 I noticed that the English sentence is ambigious with regard to the scope of why. You could ask about the reason for thinking or the reason for being alive, IINM. I also noticed that Kobardon distinguishes between the two interpretations, because why in Kobardon is morphologically an intransitive verb and agrees with its subject or the subject of its main clause.

Kobardon
Rerapo ut demiio profar ut deuú?
re-rap-o ut de-mii-o prof-ar ut de-uú.
you-think-it to he-be_in_state-it alive-SG to it-why
Why do you think it is the case that he is still alive?


Rerapo ut demiio profar ut reuú?
re-rap-o ut de-mii-o prof-ar ut re-uú.
you-think-it to it-be_in_state-it alive-SG to you-why
Why is it the case that you think he is still allive?
Yes. I actually have a thread about distinguishing the two meanings:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4548&p=180976#p180976
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Creyeditor »

Interesting [:)] I neither have a word for crime nor an idiomatic expression for being down yet, unfortunately.
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Re: Why do you think he's still alive?

Post by Iyionaku »

I think that Paatherye can differentiate it depending on the used verbal mood, but I'm not 100% if it covers the original question, or if it really makes sense on a semantic level to have differentiations like this.

Thū aythas krāti, yuwē phāmi dhīn?
[ˈtʰuː ˈai̯tʰas ˈkraːti, ˈju.eː pʰanˈtai̯se ðiːn]
2SG.FEM.NOM believe.2SG why, 3SG.MASC.NOM live.COND.3SG.MASC still
Why do you think he is still alive?

In this sentence, the conditional of phāseme "to live" is used. With that, the speaker indicates that he sees a possibility for him to still be alive.

Thū aythas krāti, yuwē phaysece dhīn?
[ˈtʰuː ˈai̯tʰas ˈkraːti, ˈju.eː pʰai̯ˈset͡se ðiːn]
2SG.FEM.NOM believe.2SG why, 3SG.MASC.NOM live.NAR.3SG.MASC still
Why do you think he is still alive?

Here, the narrative mood is used. Therefore, the speaker assumes that the listener might have heard it from somewhere, which he doubts himself, but cannot rule it out completely.

Thū aythas krāti, yuwē phayāse dhīn?
[ˈtʰuː ˈai̯tʰas ˈkraːti, ˈju.eː pʰaˈjaːse ðiːn]
2SG.FEM.NOM believe.2SG why, 3SG.MASC.NOM live.OPT.3SG.MASC still
Why do you think he is still alive?

In this last version, the optative mood is used. With it, the speaker already implies it is only the wish of the listener that the 3rd person is still alive, which he himself ruled out almost completely.
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