Comparative linguistics

From Gerard Vanderleun:
An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. … But there isn’t a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative.” A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”


Gringo said...

That's an old one. I heard it on Prairie Home Companion before the turn of the century.

RonF said...

In my days at the Institute, it was the custom of the students that if a professor/lecturer should have written a mathematical error on the chalkboard (shoving the dinosaurs out of the way while he did so), they would all hiss. Not boo, or call out in any other fashion - they would hiss. It was a point of honor to the first, or soon thereafter. It was another point of honor that one would NOT hiss unless one had, on one's own, detected the error. The hissing would continue, loud enough to disrupt any attempt by the lecturer to continue, until the lecturer corrected the mistake.

Tom said...

Would that be a hissy fit?