カプチーノのうた (auroraayanami) wrote in linguaphiles,
カプチーノのうた
auroraayanami
linguaphiles

double negatives and confusion as an English speaker

I'm in need of clarification on double negatives...

I've been taking both Japanese and Latin, and just now have I figured that I really don't know what's going on with either of their negatives.

In a Shiina Ringo song lyric she sings "nanimo iitakunai" (何も言いたくない), which would be "I don't want to say nothing", but in English that would be inferred as "I want to say something". After kinda being clarified I kinda took that "nanimo" (何も) could be an intensifying of nothingness... but I often hear "nandemo nai" (何でもない) for "it's nothing"... which translated perfectly in English as "it's not anything". So I'm still confused. This is especially bad, since in specific situations, in English one can say "I don't want to say nothing" meaning the speaker would feel regret if they didn't speak up. Would a Japanese speaker be able to convey the same conotation?

Also in Latin (sorry I don't have a better example of this) but I always see "non nullam", meaning "not nothing", and my teachers always described it as "something" (or one translated it as "a lot"... so I'm kinda confused there.) So, while I get the negation to a positive, I don't get how we're able to define how much it is. It is some or many? I also don't think I know the basics of the negative here either, as I don't know how something like "non nullam dicere volo" would be translated. (or... nullam dicere nolo?)

Can anyone help describe this to me? Has anyone else been so horribly confused on the subject that they want to cry too? ;___;

Thanks for any help!
Tags: japanese, latin
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