sailing down <no> hill

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Eddie doesn't want to go down a snowy hill on a sled-like basin, because of a plate in his head:
    - I don't know if I outta go sailing down no hill with nothing between the ground and my brain but a piece of government plastic.
    Christmas Vacation, movie

    Why is he saying the "no"? I just can't understand this.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    It's because the character in the movie, like many fictional characters, doesn't speak proper English. Correctly, he would have said, "I don't know if I ought to go sailing down a hill . . . ".
     
  3. Shiggles McWhigley

    Shiggles McWhigley Senior Member

    English - US
    It's slang. Usually attributed to hillbillies or rednecks. Just think of it as having the same meaning as "any."

    "I can't be havin' no ice cream today."

    means

    "I can't have any ice cream today."
     
  4. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Thank you for the answers.
     
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    It is not slang. It is a representation of a dialect.
     
  6. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    Vik, very informally*, double negatives are used for emphasis. Hence "I won't go down any hill" becomes "I won't go down no hill." Child refusing oatmeal, says to parent,
    "I'm not eating no oatmeal!" {If I recall, does this not happen in Russian?}

    "Did you take some cookies? [accusing]" "I didn't take no cookies!"

    ==
    *breaking the usual, current rules of standard English---but double negatives do appear in literature with this meaning (not the logical one). See discussion at

    http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/31667/are-double-negatives-ever-appropriate-in-english
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  7. Shiggles McWhigley

    Shiggles McWhigley Senior Member

    English - US
    Thanks, duly noted :)

    You're right, redneck speak is a dialect, the word "clod-hopper" would be redneck slang.
     
  8. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Yes, Benny, thanks, I see what you and Shiggles mean, I know about double negatives, but I thought Eddie didn't use that. I mean, he says:
    I don't know if [starting a new positive clause] I outta go sailing down no hill.
    I thought it's something other than a thing like "I won't go down no hill." (one clause, two negations)
     
  9. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    "I don't know if I oughta" = "I don't know if I should" = "I probably should not."
     
  10. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    These people are not grammarians, Vik, and don't pay attention to no fine distinctions like you're talking!
     
  11. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    Also this. :thumbsup:
     
  12. Shiggles McWhigley

    Shiggles McWhigley Senior Member

    English - US
    Perfect illustration :p
     
  13. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    benny, don't you mean ".... don't pay no attention to no fine distinctions like you're talking!" ;)
     
  14. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    Well, I didn't want to sound illiterate!

     

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