This sentence is crazy, it seems like there's a triple negative to it. Makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to think in Russian, because to me, instinctively, this sentence is like "I never don't open anything." It's so weird to me. Yikes. I guess what I can't wrap my head around is the не here. Why is it needed? It seems like никогда already establishes the negative, and не is redundant.
Right, there’re three negative words. We can easily create sentences with four, e.g. Я никогда́ никому́ ничего́ плохо́го не де́лала 'I've never did anything bad to anyone'.
I hope you’ll understand this in time.
If the sentence is negative, all the words that can be replaced with a negative counterpart get replaced (кто-то 'someone' — никто́ 'no one', что́-то 'something' — ничто́ 'nothing', всегда́ 'always' — никогда́ 'never', etc.). There's a limited number of such words, so hopefully this is not too hard.
and не is redundant.
It's redundant indeed, but since negatives are so important (few words change the meaning in such a drastic way!), it makes sense to repeat it to make sure you’re understood correctly. People might mishear you (e.g., «не» sounds like «мне»), and using double negatives helps to get the message through.
This aspect may be a little difficult for English speakers, because you cannot negate more than one time in a sentence. However for Portuguese speakers, it is not hard, we can negate more than one time just like in Russian.
Actually it's "I never don't open nothing", so it is even more crazy in the ears of english speakers and people whose native language does not have double negative.
To be fair, that would still mean the same thing in english. An even number of negative words cancel out the negative meaning, but an odd number makes it a negative sentence. So this still means the same thing.
It doesn’t matter whether the number of “negative” words in the sentence is even or odd, because the only really negative word in the Russian sentence is «не», all the pronouns and adverbs with the ни- prefix simply being enhancements of negation. You can’t make a negative sentence in Russian with the verb without «не». At the same time, «Я когда-то чего-то не открываю» means “Sometimes there are things that I don’t open”. Compare: «Он ничего не читает» (=He doesn’t read anything) and «Он чего-то не читает». The latter sentence can be interpreted in two ways: (1) “There are some things he doesn’t read” and (2) “For some reason, he doesn’t read anything”, because, in a casual conversation, чего-то or что-то may replace отчего-то.
The phrase looks crazy. :O
By the way, portuguese uses double negatives, too:
Eu NÃO estou vendo NADA. I am not seeing anything.
Yes, but there are some differences: Никто́ не ви́дел маши́ны = Ninguém viu o carro 'Nobody saw a car' (in this sentence, we use «не» in Russian but don't use «não» in Portuguese).
Any reason that "I don't ever open anything" should have been rejected, our should I report it?
Please report it.
If you wanted to say "nobody ever negated anything" in Spanish it would be "Nunca nadie negó nada." xD
What's wrong with "I am never opening anything." It's present tense, imperfective just like открываю.
For some reason I was assuming while translating it that this sentence referred to jars, cans, and other food packaging. (...or doors?) It was only after I got confirmation that I had it right that I realized it was not such a weird remark in the context of e.g. mail. (Or email attachments.)
Well, it’s technically two separate sounds /nʲɪɐtkrɨˈvaju/, but since both sounds are reduced, it can be pretty difficult to distinguish them.
"не о" in "не открываю" sounds close to 'near', so it's only natural that you hear what you hear.