Today, I've attended a psychological test for the master thesis of a friend of mine. The target is children and adults. So don't scare if you see in the following lines that I speak about animals.
I ask you a minute of patience to read fully my question.
The test is composed by two phases:
You see animals (on a paper) that may eat two foods, it's choosen by the examiner if the animal eat one food, two foods or none of them. If the answer is two you attach to the animal a gold medal, if it's one a bronze medal, if it's zero a sad face.
The examiner (using a frog) states a sentence and you have to say if it's true or false.The disambiguation emerges at this phase with a particular type of sentences.
Example. In the phase 1 the hippo ate one food (a carrot) and it has a bronze medal.The frog say
The hippo didn't eat a carrot or a cucumber.
Is it true or false? I answered that's true. Why? Because I transformed the sentence to
The hippo didn't eat a carrot or it didn't eat a cucumber
The first part is false but the second one is true, with an or this means true. Anyway, it's possible another transformation
The hippo did not ( eat a carrot or eat a cucmuber)
Which thanks to De Morgan's laws become
The hippo did not eat a carrot and did not eat a cucumber
This is obviously false.
I transformed the sentence beacuse in my opinion conjuction like or/and "must" connect sentences, I.e "the carpet is red or heavy" is not valid, a right one may be "the carpet is red or the carpet is heavy".
Probably, you have already understood that the issue is related the negation, logic operator precedence, sentences truncation and De Morgan's laws and how the latter is felt by people (i.e. embedded in natural language). I want to deepen in this topic and see what you expert say. In addition feel free to correct my answer and to say that I'm wrong with my test answer.
So my question are:
What's the correct transformation to eliminate the disambiguation?
Is it needed such a transformation to state something about this type of question?
Does the transformation depend on language (e.g english and russian use the same transformation)?
If no transformation is needed how do you face with this kind of sentences?does a way exist or may be only interpreted?
These articles are helping me to answer to the question:
(there is a third, but I've to wait for 10 points so it is in the comments)