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"Should not" vs. "need not"

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  • Herman Miller
    Tirëlat has a mood that I ve labeled as deontic , with the suffix -ta, which can be the equivalent of words like should or must in English. It s also got
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 21, 2014
      Tirëlat has a mood that I've labeled as "deontic", with the suffix -ta,
      which can be the equivalent of words like "should" or "must" in English.
      It's also got a negative suffix -ka, which in most other cases is
      unproblematic. E.g.

      Lĕsušağan "I want to sing"
      Lĕsušağakan "I don't want to sing"

      It doesn't matter in this case whether -ka negates "want" or "sing". You
      could rephrase it as "not to sing is what I want" or "to sing is what I
      don't want", but the difference in meaning is minimal. But what about
      the negation of the deontic mood?

      Lĕsušatan "I should / ought to / have to / must / need to sing"
      Lĕsušatakan "I must not sing" ? or "I need not sing" ?

      If "lĕsušatan" is "I have to sing", shouldn't "lĕsušatakan" mean "I
      don't have to sing"? But it actually means "I should not sing" or "I
      must not sing". The verb, not the mood, is the thing that gets negated.

      But then how do you say "I don't have to sing" in Tirëlat? I think it's
      got to be something like "my singing is unnecessary": jĕmlinan sy lĕsušari.

      Does this make sense? How do other languages with a deontic mood handle
      this distinction?
    • BPJ
      I suspect that we as speakers of languages which use different auxiliaries for these meanings are apt to think in terms of ultra-fine distinctions which a
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 22, 2014
        I suspect that we as speakers of languages which use different auxiliaries
        for these meanings are apt to think in terms of ultra-fine distinctions
        which a language with a deontic mood like T. would leave to context. You
        are certainly on the right track that it's the verb and not the mood which
        gets negated by the negative suffix, and that paraphrases with adjectives
        and/or nouns can be used to disambiguate, although I guess it is needed
        less often than an English or other Germanic language speaker might at
        first think, since context will usually clarify -- although it may also be
        that I think like Finnish speakers who faced with the fact that Swedish has
        no local cases leave out that information rather than use the proper
        prepositions. I might also simply be influenced by the fact that AFMOC
        Sohlob usually leaves more to context than European languages do. FWIW one
        of the hardest things when trying to express myself in Sohlob -- apart from
        vocabulary and grammar being moving targets! :) -- is to use its irrealis
        mood correctly since it comes in in 'unexpected' places and force me to
        think in unfamiliar ways. The insight that negation affects the verb and
        not the mood is one I'm grateful for, though now I have to decide how that
        works out when the negation itself is the finite verb, though I guess that
        is a morphological rather than a semantic thing. However the Sohlob
        negative verb differs from its Finnish counterpart in that it can be used
        as a negative copula by itself: "Ovan Vondag jiwer" 'Vondag is not king'
        vs. "Anan Vondag jiwer" 'V. is king'. "Oftan V. jiwer" ought to mean 'If V.
        weren't king' and similar.

        fredag 22 augusti 2014 skrev Herman Miller <hmiller@...>:

        > Tirëlat has a mood that I've labeled as "deontic", with the suffix -ta,
        > which can be the equivalent of words like "should" or "must" in English.
        > It's also got a negative suffix -ka, which in most other cases is
        > unproblematic. E.g.
        >
        > Lĕsušağan "I want to sing"
        > Lĕsušağakan "I don't want to sing"
        >
        > It doesn't matter in this case whether -ka negates "want" or "sing". You
        > could rephrase it as "not to sing is what I want" or "to sing is what I
        > don't want", but the difference in meaning is minimal. But what about the
        > negation of the deontic mood?
        >
        > Lĕsušatan "I should / ought to / have to / must / need to sing"
        > Lĕsušatakan "I must not sing" ? or "I need not sing" ?
        >
        > If "lĕsušatan" is "I have to sing", shouldn't "lĕsušatakan" mean "I don't
        > have to sing"? But it actually means "I should not sing" or "I must not
        > sing". The verb, not the mood, is the thing that gets negated.
        >
        > But then how do you say "I don't have to sing" in Tirëlat? I think it's
        > got to be something like "my singing is unnecessary": jĕmlinan sy lĕsušari.
        >
        > Does this make sense? How do other languages with a deontic mood handle
        > this distinction?
        >
      • Ingus Macats
        Latvian has a so-called debitive. Man ir jādzied – I must sing (1SG.DAT COP DEB-sing) Tev ir jādzied – You must sing (2SG.DAT COP DEB-sing) The negation
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 22, 2014
          Latvian has a so-called debitive.

          Man ir jādzied – I must sing (1SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)

          Tev ir jādzied – You must sing (2SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)


          The negation of which usually means “need not”, but it can also mean “must not”, depending on context.

          Man nav jādzied. > I don’t have to sing (so I won’t)

          Man tagad nav jādzied. > I don’t have to sing now (so I won’t). In the context of a choir, for example, this would also mean that I _must_not_ sing at that point.

          Tev tagad nav jādzied. > You don’t have to sing now > Don’t sing.


          I don’t know if I’ve made my point clearly enough, but at the end the difference is functionally small enough for the distinction to be somewhat irrelevant. At the end of the utterance, the result in either case will be the person not singing.


          Hope this helps,

          Ingus








          No: Herman Miller
          Nosūtīts: ‎piektdiena‎, ‎2014‎. gada ‎22‎. ‎augusts ‎4‎:‎13
          Kam: Constructed Languages List





          Tirëlat has a mood that I've labeled as "deontic", with the suffix -ta,
          which can be the equivalent of words like "should" or "must" in English.
          It's also got a negative suffix -ka, which in most other cases is
          unproblematic. E.g.

          Lĕsušağan "I want to sing"
          Lĕsušağakan "I don't want to sing"

          It doesn't matter in this case whether -ka negates "want" or "sing". You
          could rephrase it as "not to sing is what I want" or "to sing is what I
          don't want", but the difference in meaning is minimal. But what about
          the negation of the deontic mood?

          Lĕsušatan "I should / ought to / have to / must / need to sing"
          Lĕsušatakan "I must not sing" ? or "I need not sing" ?

          If "lĕsušatan" is "I have to sing", shouldn't "lĕsušatakan" mean "I
          don't have to sing"? But it actually means "I should not sing" or "I
          must not sing". The verb, not the mood, is the thing that gets negated.

          But then how do you say "I don't have to sing" in Tirëlat? I think it's
          got to be something like "my singing is unnecessary": jĕmlinan sy lĕsušari.

          Does this make sense? How do other languages with a deontic mood handle
          this distinction?
        • Herman Miller
          ... I guess it only makes sense that if -ta can express a range of meaning from should to must , that in a negative context its meaning can range from need
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 22, 2014
            BPJ wrote:
            > I suspect that we as speakers of languages which use different auxiliaries
            > for these meanings are apt to think in terms of ultra-fine distinctions
            > which a language with a deontic mood like T. would leave to context. You
            > are certainly on the right track that it's the verb and not the mood which
            > gets negated by the negative suffix, and that paraphrases with adjectives
            > and/or nouns can be used to disambiguate, although I guess it is needed
            > less often than an English or other Germanic language speaker might at
            > first think, since context will usually clarify

            I guess it only makes sense that if -ta can express a range of meaning
            from "should" to "must", that in a negative context its meaning can
            range from "need not" to "must not". If context doesn't make the meaning
            clear, it can be expressed along the lines of "singing is optional" vs.
            "singing is forbidden".
          • Herman Miller
            ... I think it s clear enough. I guess if the intent is that singing is optional, there are other ways to say that. Maybe you could say If you don t want to
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 22, 2014
              Ingus Macats wrote:
              > Latvian has a so-called debitive.
              >
              > Man ir jādzied – I must sing (1SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)
              >
              > Tev ir jādzied – You must sing (2SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)
              >
              >
              > The negation of which usually means “need not”, but it can also mean
              > “must not”, depending on context.

              > I don’t know if I’ve made my point clearly enough, but at the end the
              > difference is functionally small enough for the distinction to be
              > somewhat irrelevant. At the end of the utterance, the result in
              > either case will be the person not singing.

              I think it's clear enough. I guess if the intent is that singing is
              optional, there are other ways to say that.

              Maybe you could say "If you don't want to sing, [singing] is not
              required". But now that I think about it, there isn't a good way to
              express "if you don't want to sing" in Tirëlat!

              I guess "if you prefer not to sing", or "rĕkitunukaj my sušari". There's
              always another way to express ideas...

              Herman
            • Pete Bleackley
              According to the Conlangery Podcast, some agglutinating languages have scope-ordering of constituents, whereby singnotneed might mean I must not sing , but
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 23, 2014
                According to the Conlangery Podcast, some agglutinating languages have scope-ordering of constituents, whereby "singnotneed" might mean "I must not sing", but "singneednot" would mean "I don't need to sing".

                Pete Bleackley
                The Fantastical Devices of Pete The Mad Scientist - http://fantasticaldevices.blogspot.com

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
                To: CONLANG@...
                Sent: Sat, 23 Aug 2014 2:05
                Subject: Re: "Should not" vs. "need not"

                Ingus Macats wrote:
                > Latvian has a so-called debitive.
                >
                > Man ir jādzied – I must sing (1SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)
                >
                > Tev ir jādzied – You must sing (2SG.DAT COP DEB-sing)
                >
                >
                > The negation of which usually means “need not”, but it can also mean
                > “must not”, depending on context.

                > I don’t know if I’ve made my point clearly enough, but at the end the
                > difference is functionally small enough for the distinction to be
                > somewhat irrelevant. At the end of the utterance, the result in
                > either case will be the person not singing.

                I think it's clear enough. I guess if the intent is that singing is
                optional, there are other ways to say that.

                Maybe you could say "If you don't want to sing, [singing] is not
                required". But now that I think about it, there isn't a good way to
                express "if you don't want to sing" in Tirëlat!

                I guess "if you prefer not to sing", or "rĕkitunukaj my sušari". There's
                always another way to express ideas...

                Herman
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