6

Haram finds a person who lies down on the street.

Haram looks the person over if he's fine as Linda comes up to him and says,

"How is he?"

"I don't think so." Haram answered.

Do you think as the answer to "How is he?", I don't think so sounds natural?

I've heard this dialogue in a certain movie.

I wonder if this is just the actor's mistake in the movie dialogue or something?

I think the dialogue should be as follws :

A: How is he? good? (or He'd be fine, right?)

B: I don't think so.

or

A: How is he?

B: I don't think he's alive(fine).

ADDITIONAL information. It was from Alive, 1993 film. It is a situation right after an airplane crash. I uploaded the video clip. The person lying on the floor was not dead. He barely survives in the end.

I am curious to even know about the line "Maybe it's just as well. His mother's dead." Does he mean to say 'he will be very sad if he knows his mother was dead so it's just as well that he's dead with his mother at the same time"?

4

You are right; It is odd. And I don't think the characters do a good job with this mini-scene. From the video clip:

A: How's Nando?

B: I (don't) think so.

A: Well, maybe it's just as well; his mother's dead.

This exchange comes in the very specific context of checking for survivors just after an airplane crash in the Andes Mountains. This is why we almost always ask for context.

Frankly, after viewing the clip and reading about the plot of the movie, for which the real-life Nando is a technical adviser, I still don't grasp exactly what B replies and what A's statement means.

By saying "I (don't) think so" in a very uncertain manner, shifting his eyes around a lot, B could be saying a number of things:

a. I don't think he's alive.
b. I don't think he's dead.
c. I don't think he's going to survive.
d. I don't think he's going to die.
e. He's unconscious and I don't think he's going to survive.
f. He's unconscious and I don't think he's going to die.

Therefore..., I am not even going to attempt to guess why A says whet he says about the mother being dead. :)

Original Answer:
The question and answer you have reported indeed do not sound typical. But I doubt the actor made a mistake that was not caught by the director or film editor.

You have supplied only two sentences of dialog, and we have no other context to go on. We do not even know what movie this is from. And you have not told whether the person on the ground is okay or not. We also cannot see the gestures, facial expressions, and/or body language of the two speakers. We also know nothing about the relationship between the two characters (Haram and Linda). We also do not know anything about the individual speech characteristics of either character. Any or all of these things might affect how Haram responds to Lisa's question. Language is only one way to communicate and does not happen in a vacuum.

Having said all that, there are some reasons Haram might have said what he did, but these are only guesses, since I have none of the above information.

  1. The person on the ground may be dead or seriously wounded, so the answer I don't think so could mean Don't bother to ask that question, it is irrelevant.

  2. The relationship between Haram and Linda may have some stress in it, so Haram may mean I am not talking to you. Or I am not talking to you until we discuss our relationship.

These are only two possibilities which demonstrate how 'extra linguistic' elements may contribute to how someone responds to the question. Or it could be something 'silly' such as Haram likes that phrase and says it all the time.

We really can't answer your question until we have more information.

Last, you mention that 'Haram finds a person who lies down on the street.' This means Haram first saw the person in some other position (standing or sitting) and then the person lies down on the street.

The sentence 'Haram finds a person lying on the street' would mean the person was already lying on the street when Haram first sees the person.

  • Sorry for not giving any further information. It was from Alive, 1993 film. It is a situation right after an airplane crash. I uproaded the video clip. >> youtube.com/watch?v=AKY6ONuR8Ew Although I think your guess one fits, I hope you'd watch it and answer me again. The person lying on the floor was not dead. He barely survives in the end. I am curious to even know about the line "Maybe it's just as well. His mother's dead." Does he mean to say 'he will be very sad if he knows his mother was dead so it's just as well that he's dead with his mother at the same time"? Isn't it odd? – Bunch Dec 21 '14 at 10:25
  • I have no idea what the second line means. I don't really know what the guy means by "I don't think so." It could mean several things. See my edited answer. Next time, please add more context if you ask a similar type question. – user6951 Dec 21 '14 at 14:54
  • Thank you very much. It was a great help. I'll add as many contexts as I can next time I ask, sure. In fact, Nando's mother died instantly from the airplane crash. Nando, and his mother and sister was getting on the airplane together. A had moved the body of Nando's mother out of the airplane so that they recognize who is dead and who is alive. So I guess maybe A's statement means "It's just as well that Nando has been unconscious because his mother is just dead. If he knows this he will lose his mind" What do you think? – Bunch Dec 21 '14 at 17:06
  • Ahhhh... Yes, that sounds reasonable. I didn't think of that. Good job. – user6951 Dec 21 '14 at 21:37
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Having looked at the clip, the language is a bit strange, but it makes sense because the context is one of a recent airplane crash, and the speaker is checking over (one of possibly many) bodies. So there's an implicit question being answered "How's Nando? [Is he alive?]". And then the other guy responds "I don't think so". The context is important because this is a situation where they're clearly checking for survivors.

It would be a little different if it were just a random person on the street, because you are less likely to assume someone lying on the street is dead. Maybe they just passed out drunk (obviously it's still pretty likely that they're dead)

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