English multitopic

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:23 am

Thanks Matt. I was going to comment on Tj assertion that Japanese could adopt the Eskimo's 50 words for snow. Sure...any word can be "made up" but I think without immersion into the Artic Weather and a good guide, no language could adequately describe with the same precision, accuracy, and use of those 50 words without living in the culture. Some of the words could translate...but not all of them, maybe not even many of them.

If I hadn't done what I did, I would like to have become a linguist including all its disciplines. Words: they are what we think with.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:32 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
TJrandom wrote:I don`t think one language should have more words than another, overall.
What the frick does "should" mean in this context? Did you read ANYTHING posted above??????? "All languages are sufficient for their own needs." Do you think 15 islanders in the middle of the Pacific "SHOULD HAVE" as many words as an island nation of 50 people? ( :idea: ) snark!! ...........ok....... as many words as a highly technical country of 1.4 Billion?
TJrandom wrote:Nor do I contend that they have the same number of words.
Yep, that was another snarky comment of mine trying to get you to recognize the assumptions you make .... If one language shouldn't have more worlds than another, then wouldn't all languages have the same number????? You fail in math as well as linguistics.
TJrandom wrote: Instead, if they are open to adoption of ideas and words, then they can have all they need.
Why should anyone but Eskimos be open to adopting 50 words for snow? ...................... OK......................Laplanders. You got me there.
Please go back and re-read your question. You asked `should`, and I answered, using yoiur word.

Aside from Eskimos and Laplanders - it is just possible that Japanese might want to discuss the Eskimo experience, and thus need additional words to do so.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:46 am

Tj==re "should" I word searched page 1 and see I did use that word first....but it was a characterization of what you said to begin with. Words....... what you gonna do? In English, I'll bet we have 50 or more worlds for "how an argument got started." ? , but I can't think of the right one right now. :D
Aside from Eskimos and Laplanders - it is just possible that Japanese might want to discuss the Eskimo experience, and thus need additional words to do so.
totally obvious....but to what point? IE--do you think you could sit in a room with an Eskimo fluent in Japanese or English and have him verbally communicate to you what all 50 meanings of snow are? So that...later..on being in the Arctic, or maybe presented a scenario in Virtual Reality, or its flat 2-D picture mode, identify the 50 words as accurately as another Eskimo would?

And as all languages are sufficient for its own needs, why would anyone in Japan want to know 50 words for snow?

Know what I mean?
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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:54 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Tj==re "should" I word searched page 1 and see I did use that word first....but it was a characterization of what you said to begin with. Words....... what you gonna do? In English, I'll bet we have 50 or more worlds for "how an argument got started." ? , but I can't think of the right one right now. :D
Aside from Eskimos and Laplanders - it is just possible that Japanese might want to discuss the Eskimo experience, and thus need additional words to do so.
totally obvious....but to what point? IE--do you think you could sit in a room with an Eskimo fluent in Japanese or English and have him verbally communicate to you what all 50 meanings of snow are? So that...later..on being in the Arctic, or maybe presented a scenario in Virtual Reality, or its flat 2-D picture mode, identify the 50 words as accurately as another Eskimo would?

And as all languages are sufficient for its own needs, why would anyone in Japan want to know 50 words for snow?

Know what I mean?
I would of course contend that `should` was a mis-characterization of what I had written, but don`t really care at this point. As for Eskimos and snow - this is too far off of my interests for me to comment further.

My overall point - is that English is not unique in adding words when needed, as my examples demonstrate.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:56 am

TJrandom wrote:My overall point - is that English is not unique in adding words when needed, as my examples demonstrate.
A total given from the beginning. Pretty much a fail as an overall point.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:04 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
TJrandom wrote:My overall point - is that English is not unique in adding words when needed, as my examples demonstrate.
A total given from the beginning. Pretty much a fail as an overall point.
Except you wrote...
English is unique in world languages for the Historical and accidental cultural influences that created such diversity and precision.
:)

OK, so maybe I didn`t understand what you meant by this, and we have been posting `past each other`.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:16 am

TJ--thanks for that. I never really seek disagreement or disagreeability (sic?) --ableness??

Perhaps it is indeed wrapped up in the constant of: all things are similar and dissimilar to all other things at the same time. Its never either/or but rather how much of both?

When "all languages are sufficient for their own needs" OF COURSE they add words created by society using the language as needed or by borrowing from others. ........ "of course."

English is however UNIQUE in the processes that create a larger language. If Japanese has the same stimuli, then you could well have more words than apparently needed as well. The book I read on linguistics didn't mention it.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Gord » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:00 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:...the Eskimo's 50 words for snow.
That's a myth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_words_for_snow
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Gord » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:03 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Gord wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:There is no "direction" in language development.
There is a "time" direction in the development of anything.
Time has no direction with regard to language.
Time has a direction with regard to the development of anything.
In what I have to guess you mean, languages grow and shrink according to circumstances other than the passage of time.
No, I mean that change occurs over time. Anything that changes does so over time. Time goes in one direction, forward, and development requires change, which occurs over time, which occurs in one direction.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:30 am

Gord: time goes in one direction, change does not.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:36 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Gord: time goes in one direction, change does not.
My change only goes in one direction... from my hand to the hand of the cashier. (Sorry, I couldn`t resist....) :)

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:17 am

TJ--you carry change? I don't. I leave the house with only paper money and plastic. Change is transfered to the Lazy Boy on returning home. I can retire on that growing mountain of zinc and copper.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:53 am

My change comes in (almost) equivalents of $0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.50, $1, and $5. Bills are $10, $50, and $100. So if I were to do the same, the value would grow as would the volume and weight - to levels that might invite thieves or scrap metal recyclers. Plus, there are some toll gates that only accept coin... so I am more or less forced into coin.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:15 am

I was about to dive in to correct a couple of things - but I see Gord's already done it. The first thing was the myth of the number of Eskimo (itself a word under attack) words for snow. The second needs to be repeated - OF COURSE languages change over time - or, to put it another way, time is one of the agents of linguistic development. This is not restricted to vocabulary - it also applies to grammar and spelling. Just look at the variants of English now used around the world if you think that may not be true. Or take a look at the King James Bible. Or Pilgrim's Progress. Or anything from Mr. Shakespeare.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:14 pm

Poodle==re number of words, I stopped reading the wiki when it said it had roughly the same number of word ROOTS and then expressions for snow varied thereafter. I don't know what the heck wiki is talking about. I think it might support the argument there is only one root word for snow which is snow, whatever that is in Aleut-Whatever.

As to time, no one has come close to suggesting languages don't change over time, except your interjection as if that was the concern. Its not. It "was" that time changes language in some nebulous direction, or "linguistic development" as you put it. So, I say: name that direction, name that linguistic development. Try not to be so general as to be meaningless? Let me goad you: languages grow and die.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:49 pm

Any linguistic change is development. Why should that imply direction? It is what it is whatever you call it. Words are added as necessary (check the number of English words in common use now that weren't in common use before 1950) and others recede when redundant (we don't have too many bordars or cottars these days). I could go on giving examples - they're all a function of time. You're the one who decided that development meant direction and then challenged anyone to name the direction.

I could argue that the 'direction' is utility, but I won't because it's pointless. There's only one certainty, and that is that real languages change over time - but I think we're all saying that, even you.

I just checked back to see who first used the word 'direction'. It was you. You posted that linguistic evolution had no direction and than began to accuse other people of claiming that it did. No one mentioned it, other than Gord's later comment on time being a direction in itself. Gord's correct - or perhaps you have a unique concept of time?

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:06 pm

OK Poodle--this might be worth one circle? You say: 'No one mentioned it, other than Gord's later comment on time being a direction in itself. Gord's correct - or perhaps you have a unique concept of time?" ///

Name the direction.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:07 pm

An interesting addition to English. When I lived in Sunderland (someone has to) people over the age of 65 became known as 'twirlies'. I had no idea why until it was explained to me. Bus passes had just been introduced for pensioners, but they could be used only outside peak usage hours. So, when the revered elders got onto a relatively early bus, they would invariably brandish their cards and ask "Am I too early?" Given their Sunderland dialect, that sounds like "Am a twirly?" and, as 'Am' is phonetically identical in Sunderland to 'I'm', that retranslates as "I'm a Twirly". Hence twirlies.

I just know that you all really wanted to know that.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:08 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:OK Poodle--this might be worth one circle? You say: 'No one mentioned it, other than Gord's later comment on time being a direction in itself. Gord's correct - or perhaps you have a unique concept of time?" ///

Name the direction.
Either I don't understand you or you don't understand me. Which is it?

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:13 pm

Ha, ha.........."Whenever given a choice, I always say both."

Direction: Up, down. More complex, less complex. More words, less words. Those would be directions to me. YOU said Gord is correct. Gord said time is a direction. My point: time has nothing to do with language. Language changes over time, that has nothing to do with time without a direction. Its just saying time exists. Its like saying water is wet. True, but so what. Like fish, language swims in an ocean of time.

Name the direction.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:15 pm

OK - the direction is that in which the Arrow of Time points. That do?

Most people just say 'time'.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:17 pm

No. Total tautology. Always meaningless.

............and you know that too.

I can't believe you aren't being serious about this issue.

Speaking of the English......is it true that on the Borders there were clans of people who survived by cannibalism? Not your occasional snack, but full time use of it?
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:32 pm

Second first. Sawney Bean and the Ayrshire Cannibals - you can choose whether you believe the tales or not. But they would be Scottish, not English.

Now the first, second. How is what I said tautological? And I'm not sure I know what you think the issue is.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:49 pm

tautology: a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.....but providing no direction.

direction: by way of the examples I gave.

No reason we should connect on every subject. We'll just wait for the next one.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Gord » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:09 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:OK Poodle--this might be worth one circle? You say: 'No one mentioned it, other than Gord's later comment on time being a direction in itself. Gord's correct - or perhaps you have a unique concept of time?" ///

Name the direction.
Robert.

How does that help? :befuddled:
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:22 pm

Oh - I get it now.

Robert. Bob's your uncle. Man From UNCLE was a TV program. Napoleon Solo was a character in Man From UNCLE. Solo is a card game. Card games include Patience. Patience is a virtue.

"Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge". Dante Alighieri.

To follow, one must travel in a specific direction. And there it is. Follow the knowledge.

Why didn't you say that in the first place, bobbo?

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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:57 pm

Gord: I don't know. Its Poodle who said you were right.....not me.

Poodle: those connections are hard to make are they not? In the main, knowledge is not a direction mostly because gaining knowledge has many twists and mistakes and doublebacks.

Subtleties of the language....... if you agree.

HEY! If you like thinking "time" has some meaning with regardess to language....I say: Go for it. It will drop out of any worthwhile analysis......so its use is not damaging. Things ignored.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Monster » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:55 pm

Regarding the fact that this is "English multitopic", I have some little piece of knowledge that I'd like to share.

I've kept my eyes open for some linguistic oddities in English text. Specifically, when did it become common to put prepositions at the end of sentences. Specifically, this form: "That's exactly what I was looking for." However, there are other forms, such as verbs combined with prepositions, such as "Look it up." Let's call "That's exactly what I was looking for" Type A. The earliest instance of Type A that I could find is in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. That was published in the late 1700s.

Also, in Type A, the end of the sentence isn't actually the relevant part. What's relevant is putting prepositions at the end of clauses. Example: "Can you tell me what you're looking for, because I'd like to know."

I haven't read a great deal of English text that was published earlier than the Autobiography of BF. The only things that I can think of right now are Macbeth, Paradise Lost, and Gulliver's Travels. Prepositions at the end of sentences definitely doesn't occur in Gulliver's Travels. I didn't pay enough attention to the text of Macbeth nor Paradise Lost to notice if either had a Type A occurrence. I greatly doubt that they do.

There was another linguistic oddity that I encountered recently. "Pretty much", as in, "Person A: Are you finished? Person B: Pretty much, yeah." I encountered that in Charles Dickens's Three Ghost Stories. That was very surprising.

Here's Three Ghost Stories, and you can search for the line if you want by searching for "pretty much".
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1289/1289-h/1289-h.htm

Regarding prepositions combined with verbs, I just call those idioms when I'm talking to my students. There must be some word to describe those things, though. Some examples are: come up, come down, come on, come to. Each of those have different meanings.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Monster » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:58 pm

Regarding oddities and combining verbs and prepositions, I noticed this book title has three contiguous prepositions.

Horrors from Out of Space by Brian Lumley
http://www.amazon.com/Screaming-Science ... 1596062622
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Poodle » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:02 am

Monster wrote:... Specifically, when did it become common to put prepositions at the end of sentences.
The standard classic ... "a preposition is the wrong word to end a sentence with".

On the other hand, it's difficult to read it incorrectly. Which leads nicely into what a language is for. Grammatical rules are fine - there must obviously be structure in a language. But when you come up against rules like that, you begin to think that rules sometimes get in the way. Ah - I began a sentence with a conjunction there.

I have a theory that it's OK to bend the rules so long as meaning is preserved - but only if you know the rules in the first place.

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Re: English multitopic

Post by TJrandom » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:10 am

If you don`t know the rules, you can`t bend them....

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Re: English multitopic

Post by Gord » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:37 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Gord: I don't know.
Then why did you need it to be named?
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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:45 am

Gord wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Gord: I don't know.
Then why did you need it to be named?
To give your words meaning.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:47 am

Monster: why is ending a sentence with a proposition a linguistic oddity....when we see it all over the place and can't think of anything better?
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Re: English multitopic

Post by JO 753 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:13 am

Good topic idea, Monster. xanks.

I want to comment about dictionary lag. Even the online dictionaryz, relieved uv the inherent inertia uv printed dictionaryz, are not keeping up with the spoken languaj. Its not just that therez too much going on, but a failure to detect chanjez and trendz.

Take 'a lot' for example. Its been spoken az a single word forever, yet still 'alot' iz considered improper by the suppozedly 'descriptive, not prescriptive' lexicograferz.

'a lot', wen spoken az 2 wordz woud be clearly in referens to a collection uv itemz, such az in an auction. You coud be talking a bout 'a lot for sale on this street'. With the word 'alot' being officially suppressed, the written sentens bekumz ambiguous.

ritten: 'Therez a lot for sale on this street' coud mean its garaj sale seazon or that therez an empty peice uv property on the market.
Last edited by JO 753 on Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Gord » Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:42 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Gord wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Gord: I don't know.
Then why did you need it to be named?
To give your words meaning.
But it didn't help, so naming it did nothing and was a waste of time. The words already had their own meanings and giving them a new name only muddied things up for you.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:50 am

Gord: it was never named.

If you think it was, please copy and paste.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Monster » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:38 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Monster: why is ending a sentence with a proposition a linguistic oddity....when we see it all over the place and can't think of anything better?
But you can think of something better.

Example:
That's exactly what I was looking for.

can be written as

That's exactly for what I was looking.

I was taught, 30 years ago, when I was in grammar school, to not end my clauses with prepositions. I realize that that rule is violated all the time. These days, it's probably irrelevant.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by Monster » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:46 am

JO 753 wrote:Good topic idea, Monster. xanks.

I want to comment about dictionary lag. Even the online dictionaryz, relieved uv the inherent inertia uv printed dictionaryz, are not keeping up with the spoken languaj. Its not just that therez too much going on, but a failure to detect chanjez and trendz.

Take 'a lot' for example. Its been spoken az a single word forever, yet still 'alot' iz considered improper by the suppozedly 'descriptive, not prescriptive' lexicograferz.

'a lot', wen spoken az 2 wordz woud be clearly in referens to a collection uv itemz, such az in an auction. You coud be talking a bout 'a lot for sale on this street'. With the word 'alot' being officially suppressed, the written sentens bekumz ambiguous.

ritten: 'Therez a lot for sale on this street' coud mean its garaj sale seazon or that therez an empty peice uv property on the market.
I think that your problem is that you don't realize that the article 'a' doesn't get an accent (stress). For example, say this:

A water bottle is in my bag.

The first A has no accent. "Awater" sounds like 1 word, with the accent on the second syllable.

How about these two:
a. awash, as in My brain is awash in knowledge.
b. a wash, as in The hotel room has a wash basin.

The two are pronounced the same.

And the word "alot" being officially suppressed? That's nonsense.

And, these two are pronounced exactly the same way.

There's a lot for sale on this street.
There's alot for sale on this street.
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Re: English multitopic

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:59 am

Thanks Monster.....funny once I see "Thats exactly for what I was looking." makes sense but even after seeing it, when I just let my mind run freely I come up with the ending proposition.

Your "linguistic oddity" notion is not well supported when the violation is the norm in usage. How about: "This conformity to old rules that no longer apply in the vernacular are many and diverse keeping the language alive and flexible"?
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