Oh Sidney, you wag

A linguistics professor lecturing at Oxford explained that although there are many languages in which a double negative implies a positive, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative.

He was interrupted by legendary philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser, who piped up dismissively from the audience, “Yeah, yeah.”

5 Responses to Oh Sidney, you wag

  1. davidad says:

    Correction: the lecturer was *from* Oxford, but the lecture was *at* Columbia. Morgenbesser was a native New Yorker and I think that shows in his sense of humor.

  2. Vesuvium says:

    The lecturer wasn’t a linguist, or at least not exactly: he was the ordinary language philosopher J.L. Austin. At least, this is according to Jim Holt’s “Stop Me if You’ve Heard This…”

  3. Paul Crowley says:

    I heard this told about a lecture given in Scotland; the audience member’s comment is that uniquely Scottish expression of disbelief, “Aye, right!”

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