<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
original article:
> Patrick Dunn wrote:
> > "It didn't rain yesterday."  "The sun shone yesterday."
> What if all you know is that it didn't rain?  That is, you didn't know
> if it was cloudy or sunny?

You could describe how you came by the knowledge that it didn't rain,
e.g. "the ground was dry, and if it had rained, it would have been wet"
-- though I'm not sure if you could include that "if" clause in a
negativeless language since it's a contrary-to-fact condition.

But I'm not sure how you could know *nothing but* the fact that it *did
not rain* by any means other than being told so in words.  Otherwise
there will be some particular piece of evidence by which you deduced
that it couldn't rain, and you could express that evidence.

The concept of "not X" in its absolutely pure form, bereft of knowing
any particular Y which implies "not X", seems to me (at least right,
now, as I think about these things) to be something that exists only in
the realm of language (or more properly, it is something that exists in
our conceptual apparatus only as a result of a particular kind of
linguistic manipulation).

This is all in an old conlang of Pat's now forgotten that I never saw,
remember... :)  I'm just guessing how such a thing could work.