Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Left unsaid

There is a set of books that both you and I know about and the cardinality of that set is some number n and you and I have just had in mind a subset containing n - 1 of those books and I am now calling your attention to the remaining nth book. There was a time when I had that book in my possession and I am now asking you to tell me whether I did anything in the past which would count as causing that book to be in your possession.
The underlying semantic meaning of the utterance "Did I give you the other book?", according to linguist Charles J. Fillmore, quoted in The Linguistics Wars by Randy Allen Harris.

1 comment:

  1. Very good, and interesting. It's sort of a linguistic equation, isn't it.