"We gave the monkeys the bananas because they were [adjective]"
now it can describe a third noun...
After a few minutes of talking to him it's very hard to figure out what he's saying because he'll have dropped nouns all together in favor of pronouns. This can get very confusing when talking about technical stuffs.
cf. "Fruit flies like a banana."
Eventually, someone hit on the idea of forcing the users into a custom set of symbols that was close enough to normal to be usable, but was different enough that it forced everyone into a common style that was easier to parse.
Of course, the tricky part is to come up with a method that is expressive enough to be useful without ending up with one of those "natural" programming languages.
This sounds really weird, but if you say these sentences out loud, you can make a different meaning from each variation. Try it:
<i>I</i> <i>didn't</i> say she stole my money. That is, I was one of the few who didn't.
I didn't <i>say</i> she <i>stole</i> my money. I wrote a letter about how she found my money.
See if you can get all the way up to all 7 words stressed. There are lots of cases (which you can computer using the binomial theorem).
"When hunting lions, hide in the bushes."
"When hunting, lions hide in the bushes."
what is the logical framework for this? at first I thought you could only have one emphasized word per statement, but though its a bit more nuanced but you can also have two at a time (ie "my" and "money")
I didn't say she stole my money - someone else said it
I didn't say she stole my money - I didn't say it
I didn't say she stole my money - I only implied it
I didn't say she stole my money - I said someone did, not necessarily her
I didn't say she stole my money - I considered it borrowed, even though she didn't ask
I didn't say she stole my money - only that she stole money
I didn't say she stole my money - she stole stuff which cost me money to replace
I think this is a part of what makes English one of the best languages to tell a lie in.
Pauses can similarly change the meaning.
انا لم اقل بأنها سرقت مالي
Ana lam aqul bi'anaha saraqat maali
If you stress any particular word, you will have to insert or remove parts of the speech in order to conjugate and decline words as necessary:
(1) Ana lam aqul bi'anaha saraqat maali
(2)Laysa ana man qal bi'anaha saraqat maali .. or
(2.b) Lestu ana man qal bi'anaha saraqat maali
(3) Ana ma qultu bi'anaha saraqat maali
(4) Ma qultu bi'anahaa saraqat maali
(5) Lam aqul bi'anahaa hiya man saraqa maali
(or "man saraqat maali" when implying an all female list of suspects.)
(6) Ana lam aqul inahaa saraqat maali
(7) Ana lam aqul inahaa saraqat maaliya (anaa)
Sometimes Arabic is way too precise and makes puns a little harder.
None of the explanations that people have written here are entirely correct or reflect what's actually going on.
The phenomenon that's being discussed here is something called Contrastive Stress. It is a part of an interesting area of research on Linguistic Focus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_(linguistics)) that sits at the juncture of Semantics (meaning in abstract), Pragmatics (meaning in context), and Autosemgental Phonology (mental representation of sounds and their production of non-phoneme related stuff).
So, contrastive stress ties directly into the notion that sentences are stated in response to either explicit or implicit questions. In fact the location of the emphatic stress is directly related to what question the speaker is trying to answer.
So, you can actually do this with nearly any sentence, simply by placing the stress on a different word.
Badger's account is mostly correct, but it's tied in a little closer with grammar than his examples actually intimate. I'd say that there's a much wider range of possible candidates for say:
Did you say she stole your money?
I didn't say she stole my money, i know/saw/heard/thought/wrote/hinted/testified/dreamed it!
"It" in this context is the entire grammatical structure "she stole my money". The reason why this is important is because of the notion of what can be stressed and what the stress is actually applied/scoped to.
You can do this with other sentences as well:
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
"Is jeb bush the 43rd president of the united states?"
No, George Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
"Is George Washington the 43rd President of the United States?"
"George Bush isn't the 43rd President of the United States, right?"
No, George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
"Was there more than one 43rd president of the united states?"
"Was George W. Bush the 44th President of the United States?"
"Was George W. Bush the 43rd Vice President of the United States?"
(okay, so "of" is a function word that we can't contrast against anything else)
"Was George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United Arab Emerates?"
No George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.
So this really is a general phenomenon that you not only see every day, but really use on a constant basis. Every sentence has grammatical stress, it's how we know what other people are focusing on when they speak.
So sorry if i gave the impression that Badger7 is wrong, he's not, he just doesn't explain what's going on, or what the full scope of the phenomenon is :)
"Is there anything wrong in badger7's post?"
"No, I'm not saying Badger's post is incorrect"
The double-negative makes alternative emphases difficult, but I'm tempted.
"Was George W. Bush the 43rd President from the United States?"
Incidentally, some still bear alternative interpretations: e.g., #3 could be interpreted as "I only thought it".
Sentences can also have multiple stresses, and you may have multiple topics under discussion. Sentences still have a primary stress, but can have secondary stresses as well.
Who sang what to whom?
Pat sang "I feel pretty" to Jackie!
Implicit here are three stresses, which may indicate the following:
Pat sang, can you believe it? I didn't know pat could sing!
Pat sang "i feel pretty", who would have know that Pat likes show tunes?
Pat sang "i feel pretty" to Jackie. Jackie was the wrong person to sing to, because Jackie hates the music from West Side Story.