Tiny Tiny Court (fencer_x) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tiny Tiny Court
fencer_x
linguaphiles

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Same phrase, opposite meaning?

I was thinking of a random phrase the other day, and I realized that, depending on the stress, the same word-for-word phrase could mean the exact opposite for a speaker. I then wondered if this was something common to all English speakers, and if anything similar occurred in other languages.



In a situation where underlined words are given particular stress to emphasize them...

"He knows shit about TOPIC." for me means, "He doesn't know anything about TOPIC."
"He knows shit about TOPIC." for me means, "He is extremely well educated on TOPIC."

Just to throw another wrench into the works...

"He doesn't know shit about TOPIC." for me means (as above), "He doesn't know anything about TOPIC."

(and I don't think I've ever really heard it used, but to me, "He doesn't know shit about TOPIC," means, "He is educated, but he lacks knowledge on core aspects of TOPIC.")

Is anyone else familiar with this? Is this kind of occurrence present in other languages as well? I'm not sure why I thought about it, I just did!
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