I am no more mad than you are.

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Seiichi MYOGA
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I am no more mad than you are.

Postby Seiichi MYOGA » Fri May 23, 2008 2:08 pm UTC

I'd like to ask native speakers of English about the interpretation of (1).

Do you think (1) is actually ambiguous?

(1) I am no more mad than you are.

If you know about a source or origin of (1) [Twelfth-Night, Act IV. Scene II] , you will probably interpret (1) as meaning "I am not mentally ill, just as you are not mentally ill."

And if you identify "mad" as meaning as "angry" (which I think is usually your first choice), you will probably interpret (1) as meaning "I am [not/no] angrier than you are."

Am I right?
Thank you in advance
Seiichi MYOGA

P.S.
Logically, if you identify "mad" as meaning "angry," it should be "I am no more angry than you are," which in turn should mean "I am not angry, just as you are not angry." Actually, the sentence when you interpret "mad" as meaning "angry" must mean "There is no difference in the degree of anger between you and me." Correct me if I'm wrong.
(1) is really confusing to ... ME! (which does NOT mean Middle English, of course!)
:x Oh, I mean :?

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ascendingPig
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby ascendingPig » Fri May 23, 2008 2:54 pm UTC

Well, native English speakers can draw connotations based on the style of a sentence. That sentence is written in a very archaic format, so most English speakers would therefore assume that "mad" is used in its more archaic sense of "insane." If the sentence were written, say, "I'm not madder than you are," a more modern phrasing, it would be more likely to be interpreted as referring to anger.
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby ZLVT » Fri May 23, 2008 3:39 pm UTC

I read it as: "my insanity does not exceede the level of yours" Also I think formally "more mad" is incorrect as "mad" is monosylabic therefore becoming "mader".
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goofy
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby goofy » Fri May 23, 2008 7:58 pm UTC

Seiichi MYOGA wrote:I'd like to ask native speakers of English about the interpretation of (1).

Do you think (1) is actually ambiguous?


Do you mean lexically ambiguous? Because "mad" means both "angry" and "insane"? Yes it is lexically ambiguous.

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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby The Reaper » Fri May 23, 2008 8:12 pm UTC

Seiichi MYOGA wrote:I'd like to ask native speakers of English about the interpretation of (1).

Do you think (1) is actually ambiguous?

(1) I am no more mad than you are.

If you know about a source or origin of (1) [Twelfth-Night, Act IV. Scene II] , you will probably interpret (1) as meaning "I am not mentally ill, just as you are not mentally ill."

And if you identify "mad" as meaning as "angry" (which I think is usually your first choice), you will probably interpret (1) as meaning "I am [not/no] angrier than you are."

Am I right?
Thank you in advance
Seiichi MYOGA

P.S.
Logically, if you identify "mad" as meaning "angry," it should be "I am no more angry than you are," which in turn should mean "I am not angry, just as you are not angry." Actually, the sentence when you interpret "mad" as meaning "angry" must mean "There is no difference in the degree of anger between you and me." Correct me if I'm wrong.
(1) is really confusing to ... ME! (which does NOT mean Middle English, of course!)
:x Oh, I mean :?

I believe that you are in fact a hatter.

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Dextrose
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby Dextrose » Fri May 23, 2008 11:22 pm UTC

The format is a little bit more nuanced than "I am not mad, just as you are not mad." Technically, there's an assumption that the audience is not mad (probably "crazy" here), and the statement is that the speaker is not madder than the audience, or simply not mad. You could say the same sentence, "I am not more mad than you," or, "I am no madder than you," but these break the sentence apart differently, as "not" attaches to "am" whereas "no" attaches to "more."
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++$_
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby ++$_ » Fri May 23, 2008 11:33 pm UTC

Dextrose wrote:The format is a little bit more nuanced than "I am not mad, just as you are not mad." Technically, there's an assumption that the audience is not mad (probably "crazy" here), and the statement is that the speaker is not madder than the audience, or simply not mad. You could say the same sentence, "I am not more mad than you," or, "I am no madder than you," but these break the sentence apart differently, as "not" attaches to "am" whereas "no" attaches to "more."
Yes, this is the relevant issue. If you change the sentence to "I am no more angry than you are," it means a different thing because the audience may be angry, in the new context. Therefore, it is a comparison of degree of anger between two people. However, the sentence "I am no more insane than you are" is made in the context where the audience is definitely sane. Therefore, it is a comparison of degree of insanity to zero.

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jaap
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby jaap » Sat May 24, 2008 10:37 am UTC

++$_ wrote:Therefore, it is a comparison of degree of anger between two people. However, the sentence "I am no more insane than you are" is made in the context where the audience is definitely sane. Therefore, it is a comparison of degree of insanity to zero.


I'm not entirely convinced there is necessarily a direct comparison of degree in the sentence. To me it seems to work just as well if 'mad' is replaced by a word such as 'pregnant', or 'a madman', which you either are or are not.
"I am no more a madman than you are."
"I am no more pregnant than you are."

I suppose there can be an inferred comparison of degree:
"I am no more [like] a madman than you are [like a madman]."
"I am no more [like a] pregnant [woman] than you are [like a pregnant woman]."
but I think that is stretching it a bit.

To me the word 'mad' in the context of the original sentence is similarly something you either are or are not. Therefore for me it has a similar meaning to: "I am not mad, just like you aren't either."

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Velifer
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby Velifer » Tue May 27, 2008 3:02 pm UTC

To me, it's only ambiguous if I take time to think about what else it could mean.

It is a perfectly clear statement of the speaker's self-professed sanity, with a nuanced nod to the notion that if we were all crazy, who could really tell. The structure does a very good job of disambiguation, though if the line were delivered by someone who was obviously really pissed off, it might change my interpretation.
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drbhoneydew
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby drbhoneydew » Fri May 30, 2008 11:58 am UTC

It's ambiguous, but not because of the dual meaning of mad (angry vs insane), but because of the dual implications that one can draw from the statement (Neither of us are mad vs We're both mad). And mad in this context definitely means insane.

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beastie
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Re: I am no more mad than you are.

Postby beastie » Fri May 30, 2008 12:11 pm UTC

Seiichi MYOGA wrote:(1) I am no more mad than you are.


To me it could mean different things:
1. I am just as angry as you are and not more, over the top mad etc.
2. I've lost my mind just as much as you have/I am just as insane as you are.

Usually I'll go with one as a way of expressing sympathy towards a certain event, e.g. I am as upset/frustrated as you are. But it depends a lot on the context I guess.


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