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Miss-communication

10/15/2007 5:21 AM

Fax, phone, txt, e-mail, mallapropisms...

The vaguaries and pitfalls of modern communication! Discuss.

'It's a Chicken and Roundabout situation!' As my old Manging Director once said.

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#1

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 5:39 AM

Malapropisms. 1 bungle. 2 error. 3 figure of speech. 4 grammatical error. 5 joke. 6 word.

Had to look that one up. Regards JD.

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#137
In reply to #1

Re: miss-communication

10/19/2007 3:15 PM

I have heard that there was once a female character named Mrs. Malaprop, in either a book or a play, or both, who used a similar-sounding word for the one she should have used, such as the use of constipate instead of castigate -- or vice-versa.

Norm Crosby was good at this particular kind of humor, but I don't remember the TV show he was on.

Out of curiosity, I looked up Mrs. Malaprop at wikipedia and found that Mrs. Malaprop was in a play, The Rivals, written by Richard Sheridan in 1775.

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#2

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 5:51 AM

The rampant incorrect usage of "less" and "fewer" by such erstwhile organisations as the BBC is a situation I find quite untenable.

I would like to thank you for providing a forum for an airing of these frustrations.

Signed
A Pedant

Presumably, your old MD was from Bungay?

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#26
In reply to #2

Re: miss-communication

10/16/2007 4:25 AM

Isn't there a missing adjective between 'erstwhile' and 'organisations'? Unless, of course, 'erstwhile' is used as an adjective...

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#50
In reply to #2

Re: miss-communication

10/16/2007 7:17 PM

"such erstwhile organisations as the BBC"

Rose, are you saying that the BBC is no longer an organisation?

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#52
In reply to #50

Re: miss-communication

10/17/2007 3:03 AM

'It's broadcasting Jim, but not as we know knew it'

Scotty

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#135
In reply to #2

Re: miss-communication

10/19/2007 1:56 PM

Hi Thread,

Some years ago a little book surfaced called Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language. This little gem is a compilation of malapropisms, bloopers, faux pas, and just about everything else Richard Lederer (a Concord, New Hampshire, English teacher) could get his hands on. Lederer has since published a number of follow-ups to this book including Anguished English (revised), More Anguished English, The Bride of Anguished English and Fractured English.

e-man

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#3

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 6:06 AM

"Warning - cats' eyes removed"

[Context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_eye_%28road%29 It's a sign used in connection with road works in the UK, indicating that the retro-reflective lane markers have been removed from the road surface......]

"There are no smoking restrictions"

"There are no-smoking restrictions"

[These are exactly opposite, depending on the presence or absence of the hyphen, and whether it gets read and understood.]

"Send reinforcements; we're going to advance."

"Send three and fourpence; we're going to a dance".

[A not-so-modern one used in the armed forces as an example of the distortion of communications as the message is passed on down a series of communication links. For the younger reader, 'three and fourpence', three shillings and four pence (3s/4d), become about £0.167 GBP upon decimalisation of the UK's currency in 1971. 3s/4d would have been about the value of a ticket to enter a pre-organised dancing event about 20 years earlier.]

There must be more!

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#41
In reply to #3

Re: miss-communication

10/16/2007 10:47 AM

Great post. Years ago there was a comic here in the US named Norm Crosby. He could spend twenty minutes destroying whatever this language is we are using. If you ever get a chance to hear any of his humor, don't miss it.

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#4

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 6:11 AM

Ist sda to tiknh taht we cnta cunomcaiet ulssne we do it crrecolty. Regards JD.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 6:39 AM

Presumably you're refering to the research that found that as long as the first and last letters of each word were in their correct place, people were able to work out what was meant?

The thing is, do we want communication at any cost, or communication that is swift, easy and shows that the originator has respect for the receipient?

I find it very difficult to read text all in capitals, because a lot of how I read is through word shape (my default reading mechanism is speed reading). I also don't "read aloud in my head", the squiggles on the page are transformed into pictures in my head. This means that when someones mis-spells in such a way that another word is formed (there/their/they're one/won etc etc), it at best causes me some confusion when the following words don't meet the required grammatical form dictated by the word used and at worst it feels like I've run into a brick wall. Additionally, it detracts from the writer's message, since I find there's a bit of me that's turned into Mrs Angry at their inability to proof-read, or unwillingness to ask someone else to proof-read it.

Of course, this goes for formal communications. I don't get this het up about a scribbled note or a quick email. And there are a number of mistakes that are obvious typos (hell, I make plenty of those), so I disregard those as well (unless they have comic value). Most importantly, this does not apply to those whose first language is not English - unless they're actually better than most English natives! There are a number of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) speakers on CR4 and I applaud them.

The concept of respecting your readers also goes for the style of the written communication - particularly in reports when a particular course of action is needed as a result of the findings. You need to structure your report so that the reader understands the conclusion completely - and that usually means you don't report chronologically. I have a colleague who structures his visit reports in the "First we did this, then we did that" style, which makes pulling information out of them a couple of years later very difficult. I write mine in sections based on system component, so that the reader can find the relevant bit more easily.

To summarise: think about your reader - what does he want to know from your wealth of knowledge? What do you want him to do? How can you make it easy for him to digest your information?

More than anything, it's the impression that the writer doesn't care about his reader and doesn't think that being accurate is important that really rile me. If he can't be bothered about these simple details, how can I be sure that he's got his factual details right?

How can I be sure that what he has written was actually what he meant? This runs more towards punctuation and word order. I have had stand-up rows (the outcome was that critical) because people have been imprecise about their use of English and what they actually said was the opposite of what they thought they had said.

See you in a few days!

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 7:01 AM

A close family member uses words that are 'near enough' rather than accurate. It's infuriating. It happens because this individual's $b$14=lookup(shapes, requirements) calculation is completed a lot sooner than the $b$20=lookup($b$14, dictionary) process for the actual word. By this time this second calculation is complete, the shapes and requirements box higher up in the in the spreadsheet has filled up with something else and a rerun of the second calculation is underway.

By the time it has been mapped into another person's $b$35=lookup('First person'!$b$20, appropriate assitance) function the original calulation has been lost.

"Could you get a, a, a..... spoon out of the drawer, please?" has to be interpreted for context, because what is often wanted is actually a fork. "Spoon - fork - same difference; you know what I mean."

=#REF!

Providing a spoon in response to the original requirement calculation when a fork is really required can often result in a painful input. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! [Unhandled exception at 126219. This program needs to lie down.]

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 7:04 AM

There are standards, and you find keepers of them in all walks of life. I try to be meticulous about what I am trying to convey, but I must admit I'm not alway successful, I don't see words individually, but in groups, I see objects that I can reorganise in my mind, not abstracts. I suppose it like left and right handed, a fact of life. If I am wrong on my interpretation of what is written I have an innate feeling, that prompts me to look further. There is an instinct that guides one. I'm not saying you are wrong, but some of us think that dealing with ideas is more than just good memory. But I must admit I wish I had a better mrmory.

Respect for your point of view JD.

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#59
In reply to #5

Re: miss-communication

10/17/2007 10:51 AM

Good commentary, English Rose! I think what you are referring to is a tendency to be a bit self-centered or self-absorbed in society today. Many seem to think that because they understand what they mean, you should, too.

You are to be commended for taking the attitude that there might be another point of view or, at least, another point of reference and trying to put your own communications in a format that will make sense to someone else. You called this "respecting your readers." Bravo!

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#60
In reply to #5

Re: miss-communication

10/17/2007 10:59 AM

I do try - honest. I check for the correct words and spellings, and also that the clause structure supports the meaning - even when I don't write complete sentences. (E.g. "Complete sentences are not universally helpful - discuss"?)

But complex issues are not easily communicated, and I'm continually failing to convey what I wish, or implying emotional content that isn't actually there.

Help!

Fyz

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#63
In reply to #60

Re: miss-communication

10/17/2007 11:14 AM

Fyz -

You're not alone; I feel your pain!!

Words are my favorite tools, my favorite toys - my favorite weapons, too. Yet, even after decades of study and practice, I suffer from miscommunication events.

I generally prefer the written word for complex topics because writing can be carefully edited before anyone sees it, but there's no substitute for face-to-face feedback when it comes to "implied emotional content".

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#6

Re: miss-communication

10/15/2007 6:58 AM

Looking it up in the thesaurus did not help me either.

Mallapropisms... = malignancy, maligned, malnourished, malpractices, Malcontent,

My editor keep on throwing away one of the l's

Malapropism = making it up as you go along

isms = anything with an ism at the back is bad – should be avoided

With 11 official languages (Some never developed a legal or technical vocabulary) one do not dare using fancy words in law. (It is bound to be misinterpreted)

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#21
In reply to #6

Re: miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:36 AM

My understanding is that a Thesaurus will probably not help you in fully understanding a word's meaning. The lovely word you picked, (it has one "L" by the way, not two....)I looked up in the shorter Oxford Dictionary and I found the following:-

malapropism

/malproppiz'm/ (US also malaprop)

noun the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one (e.g. 'dance a flamingo' instead of flamenco).

— ORIGIN from the name of the character Mrs Malaprop in Richard Sheridan's play The Rivals (1775).

I hope that this helped....

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#27
In reply to #21

Re: miss-communication

10/16/2007 4:33 AM

Bravo!

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#9

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 9:00 AM

I work with a Mrs Spooner who one would expect to swap her lirst fetters.

However she tends to rather do malapropisms or regional mispronunciations..

ADvocado is a very common miss spelling / mispronunciation for avocado in Harlow.

For those who seem to have trouble finding the definition of malapropism its just an inappropriate (and usually amusing) word which sounds vaguely like the correct one ..after Mrs Malaprop a Dickens charcter?

E.G.

'He's got no idea of modern art he's a bit of a Palestine.

The use 'Palestine' in place of 'Philistine'.... is I think ...a Malapropism.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 9:05 AM

"What are you trying to incinerate?"

"I resemble that remark!"

Keep 'em coming!

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#30
In reply to #10

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:11 AM
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#31
In reply to #10

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:15 AM

The reason only the Queen's head appears on Bank of England banknotes is it makes it difficult to count-'er-feet.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 10:05 AM

<ADvocado is a very common miss spelling / mispronunciation for avocado in Harlow.>

'Arlow must have caught it from Basildon <Sneeze, splutter>.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 10:42 AM

Thanks Pete, I'll have mine with some ASparraGrass if you're offering.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 10:49 AM

It'll cost ya <Splutter>!

And where am I supposed to nick it from <Wheeze>?

Do you know the local girls' favourite wine?

"I'LL 'AVE A NUVVER 'ARVEY WALLBANGER!" <Cough, cough>.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 10:59 AM

I thought it was 'I wanna go ta Lakeside'

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#62
In reply to #15

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 11:07 AM

Ain't dat pronouned likesade, after tha markwiss?

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#75
In reply to #15

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 2:40 PM

That's because all the Hoodies get kicked out of Bluewater. The local monks are bloody furious.

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#12

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 10:25 AM

I was accosted by an acquaintance on the way back from the village shop yesterday who was complaining about the 'comedy seven' (electric night storage) heating in her rented house. (For those unfamiliar with Britain's quaint practices, someone invented a miserably inefficient system using off-peak electricity to heat piles of bricks in peoples living rooms overnight, the less expensive off-peak 'leccie being called 'Economy Seven'. Now discredited)

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#16

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 4:32 PM

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you think I said is not what I meant." - seen on wall of National Guard Armory in Oklahoma.

As an old "commo" man and a ham radio operator, I could go on about about things said on the radio, but I'll deal with only two.

"Over and out", fortunately, is used mostly in cartoons. The two terms are mutually exclusive. 'Over' means I am through talking, and waiting for a reply. 'Out' means I am through talking, this is my last transmission in this exchange.

I may be the only one, but I cringe when I hear "be advised." I know how to be aware, be awake, be alert, but I cannot "be advised" until you advise me!

I will end with an example of good communications, a quote from the battalion chaplain, Capt. Harry Robson: "Getting things done around here is like the mating of elephants. It is done at a high level, with much roaring and screaming, and takes three years to produce results!"

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#22
In reply to #16

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:42 AM

A lovely and funny (and accurate!) post, keep 'em coming please....

I sympathise completely with regard to such misuses.....

I am personally not used to an American being so accurate and correct with the language, you are one of a very few!! Many thanks.

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#17

Re: Miss-communication

10/15/2007 7:33 PM

vaguaries and pitfalls of modern communication

omg! we have communication?

what a wide open topic, if my i connection was any good id love to discuss more...

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#18

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 12:49 AM

I recall reading that the Naval Academy has a course in which one is required to write out an order in such a way that it cannot be misinterpreted, misconstrued, or misunderstood even by the most perverse mind. The course (I further recall) had roughly a 40% failure rate.

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#19

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 2:39 AM

PWSlack told me that this thread was on! Thanks PW!

I had to check up on malapropisms. I always though it was spelled with one "l" (still is, by the way). Vaguaries, now that's a new word for me! Are these "vague" things?

I left handwritten letters and cards years ago. I loved writing love letters to my future wife but hated having to stand in line when dropping it off at the post office. Also, the nearest post office was about 30 minutes away by public transportation. E-mail arrived after we got married, however, so I never had a chance to say my sweet-nothings over the cold monitors. One drawback is that you can't put the e-mail in a shoebox unless you print it (The wife and I still have our old letters in a shoebox, discovered by our teenage daughter recently).

Still and all, the handwritten letter has a certain appeal to it. My daughter marvelled in our five to seven pages of carefully hand-written letters on small yellow paper. "It must have taken you ages to write this!" She says. Yeah, and enjoyed every hour of it.

In my younger days (before I met my future wife - it's okay, I told her all about these), I used to handmake greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, valentines, which really impressed the girls back then. Today, my daughter does them on the computer and much faster too. Then she prints multiple copies. Beat that Dad!

Text messages on cellphones are the preferred mode of communication in the Philippines. I just have two complaints about text messages:

  • People tend to send a text message when a voice call is more appropriate, like, "please pick me up at the supermarket". It was sent at 3pm, and you receive it at 7pm in the evening.
  • Typing on a 12 key keypad makes it necessary to type in textalese. Sometimes, the message is just unreadable because of all the abbreviations or shortcuts. For that I always keep the dictionary mode on. It's also makes it easier and faster to type a message. Forget about reading a person's state-of-mind when reading text messages.
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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 2:51 AM

Hey Vulc' great post...brought back some great memories!

Yeh, I've got a bunch of love letters tucked away too.

And the hand made cards... and the ones made by for us by the kids when they were young.

Yup, that's real communication.

Mind the computer doesn't have to be too sterile...

I used to do a little Xmas Card in 'Paint' to E-mail to those folks who I was in regular E-chat with. (I'll have to post one when we get to that dreaded time ... bah humbug)

I keep in touch with Big Sis via E-mail a few times a week which is generally pretty hilarious and I've done some brilliant plumbing problem solving for her by E-mail which amuses an amazes her no end, ...(Me, ham it up?Surely not!)

Del

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#23

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:54 AM

Orientation is where we go to get oriented, not orientated. But these days, it is so commonly gotten wrong that the right way sounds weird.

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#24

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 4:16 AM

Living in Germany, the only US radio that I can receive off the air is the military radio AFN Germany, they continually use the word "momentarily" for "in a moment" or "shortly", wrong Guys and Gals....

But it appears that it is a general failure (or change) in the US only as the Oxford Short gives that definition for the North America...

momentarily

adverb 1 for a very short time. 2 N. Amer. very soon.

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#25

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 4:24 AM

Harassment?

Harassment?

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:07 AM

I see that only as one of the many pronunciation differences, the meaning stays the same....same spelling.

Most of the US spelling differences to normal English are fully understandable and the word's meaning mostly remains the same....I cannot think of an example (other than I have already posted) where the meaning is significantly different, but I am sure that there are such examples as well....

I do not call the American language English, I call it simply American - its similar, but not the same as English.

A similar change in my opinion can be seen between the language the South Africans speak, called Afrikaans I believe, and modern Dutch......significant changes have happened to both, but not always the same changes I am given to understand....

Quaintly if you understand German well, you can read both modern Dutch and Yiddish and some Afrikaans as well....obviously they must come from the same source, but how and when I personally do not know. Some Swedish is also understandable in written form too....

Listening and understanding them is something else by the way!!!

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#44
In reply to #29

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 2:12 PM

George Bernard Shaw said that the English and Americans are "two peoples separated by a common language." I thought it was Winston Churchill, but my good friend, Mr. Google, set me straight.

This has been a fascinating exchange. Before I took to earning a living by technology, I earned a degree in Modern Languages. Sadly, I have now forgotten much of what I learned and later taught.

One odd aspect of Andy Germany's post is the similarities between Dutch, German, Yiddish and Afrikaans as well. This is not surprising given that they all come from a common Germanic root language. What is surprising to many is that English came from the same root! There is a good article on Wikipedia about the development of these Germanic branches of Indo-European. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_languages

It is easy to see this development in literature. The Old English version of Beowulf (around 750 A.D.) almost looks like German. Compare the last word in the first line, "frægn" with the modern German word "fragen" which means "to ask." Likewise, note the Germanic construction "Ne sea hic" in the penultimate line with the verb preceding the subject and the first person personal pronoun not capitalized.

Old English Beowulf
oretmecgas æfter æþelum frægn:
"Hwanon ferigeað ge fætte scyldas,
græge syrcan ond grimhelmas,
heresceafta heap? Ic eom Hroðgares
ar ond ombiht. Ne seah ic elþeodige
þus manige men modiglicran,

Modern Translation:
...asked the warriors of their lineage:
"Whence do you carry ornate shields,
Grey mail-shirts and masked helms,
A multitude of spears? I am Hrothgar's
herald and officer. I have never seen, of foreigners,
So many men, of braver bearing

Three hundred or so years later, Chaucer still seems "Germanic" when he wrote the introduction to Canterbury Tales in Middle English around 1380 A.D.

As Chaucer wrote:
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heath
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,

Modern Translation:
When in April the sweet showers fall
That pierce March's drought to the root and all
And bathed every vein in liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has with his sweet breath,
Filled again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and leaves, and the young sun
His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run,
And many little birds make melody

Another great work is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to see how close Middle English was to German. I recommend the translation by J.R.R.Tolkein.

By the time Shakespeare appears on the stage (no pun intended) , the English language had developed into Modern English. So we can understand "the Bard" without translation. Almost. Sometimes. If we work at it. Really hard.

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#51
In reply to #44

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 11:18 PM

Languages, just like living things, evolve over time.

Perhaps, in prehistoric times, early man had a common language. When groups separated, they each developed new words and new ways of pronouncing the old words. Maybe they even mispronounced words and brought that along on their journeys.

Over thousands of years, these "tribes", with now different languages, would inter-marry, or invade and conquer other tribes and add new words and pronounciations. In some cases, the whole language would even disappear and be supplanted by another.

As nations formed, their languages became distinct and unique. However, in having to deal with other nations, words were borrowed and, in some cases, spellings and pronounciations were changed. The result is what we have now.

The Philippines is one such example. We have about 12 major languages but, if you include all the minor languages, it numbers up to about 150 or so. Our blood lines have traces of Polynesian, Indonesian, Malay, and Chinese. Due to conquests and inter-marriages, the bloodlines have received European and American (North and South) traces as well. It's been joked about that the true native Filipino no longer exists.

Our forefathers attempted to unite the languages by specifying that the national language be called Pilipino and be based, initially, on Tagalog, one of the major languages. The reason for that was because Tagalog is spoken or can be understood almost everywhere. However, the intent was that Pilipino would evolve by taking words from the other languages and eventually become something that would be understood by all.

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#61
In reply to #51

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 11:05 AM

Good observations, Vulcan!

A pet theory of mine is that language also reveals how we think, not as individuals, but as a community or society. Certain grammatical formats, or word relations, can indicate attitudes.

For example, in English, when we came up with a new new device for transmitting voice over wires over long distances, we came up with a new word: telephone. In German, this device was called a Fernsprechapparat (far-speaking apparatus). Instead of creating a brand new word, three existing words are combined to name the new device. One could argue that coming up with a new word is creative and inventive, or that combining existing words is practical and efficient. Either way, it connotes different mental approaches to the problem of naming a device.

I bet you have examples in your own experience in the development of the various languages in the Philippines. Some of these would indicate similarities in thought process, some differences. What a rich heritage!

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#88
In reply to #61

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 10:12 PM

Actually, the word telephone is a combination of two Greek words, tele (distant) and phone (voice/sound). So an English word has been created out of Greek words! That's what I meant when we borrow words from other languages to create new ones.

I haven't studied the history of languages in the Philippines. Some words have similar pronounciation as well as meaning in Indonesian as well as Malay. In others, however, entirely different words are used. There are words, however, that are spelled and pronounced exactly the same but have different meanings.

Sometimes, we get hilarious incidents because of the differences in meanings.

We had an audit once to gauge our "preparedness" (another relatively recent addition to the English language there) for a bird flu epidemic.

Just before the audit, a flock of egrets decided to use our factory as a stopover on their migration route. One of the auditors asked an employee what he saw, and the employee said, "Sir, we saw lots of 'lang-gam'!"

The auditor angrily asked the factory manager if his people were deliberately making fun of him. To the employee, who is Visayan, "lang-am" means "birds". To the auditor, who was Tagalog, the same word (same pronounciation) means "ants".

I am Tagalog by birth but I've lived in a Visayan language region for the past 13 years and I've learned to speak the language quite well. At least I won't make the same mistake as the auditor!

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#107
In reply to #88

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 10:24 AM

What a hoot! That is funny.

I knew there wa some diversity in languages in the Philippines. My wife's first husband was a first generation American son of Phillipine parents. She will sometimes remark about them speaking Tagalog or Illicano, or the differences between them. I had no idea there was such a rich diversity of languages there, though!

You are right about the creation of telephone. The main difference is that the Germans build the words out of their own language, we "borrowed" from another language. Still, it only serves to show a slightly different attitude or process.

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#110
In reply to #88

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 10:44 AM

Regional dialects can be a challenge. My Dad's folks came from rural Bavaria and spoke a Frankish variant of German; my Mom's folks, from a farm in Hessen, spoke a very different lingo. The only way the in-laws could communicate with one another was in English!

A more extreme example: my Boss was in China on business. His host took him to a splendid seafood restaurant. The host spoke Mandarin; the waiter spoke Cantonese. Both men spoke English, but their accents were so different that they could not understand one another at all! My boss ended up translating, in English, between the two Chinese versions of English. THAT was funny.

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#112
In reply to #110

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 11:27 AM

I can identify with that. I lived in Franconia (northern Bavaria) but could NEVER get a grip on the local dialect. Vacationing in the Alps, (southern Bavaria) was just as bad -- but a completely different dialect. As far as I was concerned, there were two different languages that sounded a lot like German!

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#118
In reply to #112

Re: Miss-communication

10/19/2007 7:24 AM

Believe me, there are MANY more.....!!! Very difficult even for Germans!!

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#127
In reply to #118

Re: Miss-communication

10/19/2007 10:02 AM

I noticed that. I think the most common words used when Germans travel in country and try to converse are "Wie, bitte?"

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#53
In reply to #44

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 6:51 AM

Many, many thanks, fascinating!!

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#28

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 4:40 AM

For some reason my imagination leapt to parades of bathing costume clad young tele-sales people. I've been mislead! Didn't dare to say 'girls', I'm quite sure entires couldn't discriminate on grounds of gender these days, except possibly within Asia?

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#32

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:16 AM

In Google miss-communication gets 48,000 hits; miscommunication gets 2,000,000: surely you're not implying that girls are worse than boys.

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:43 AM

Don't understand that, surely miss communication just has to be more interesting.

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#33

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 5:22 AM
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#35

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 7:07 AM

Nothing about SMS language?

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 7:09 AM

What's that (it's not spoken here)?

Is that newspeak for Esperanto?

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#39
In reply to #36

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 9:29 AM

It's the language used in text messages sent through cellular phones where brevity achieved by phonetic spelling, word chopping conventions and practically no syntax makes for highly efficient communication. Or so cellular phone addicts think, at least...

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 10:25 AM

(Ah! A bite!)

These addicts sometimes fail to recognise that not everyone else around them is so addicted. Those that have had no exposure to that particular 'drug' may fail to recognise the content of the message, particularly if English is not their native language for want of a better term; how many times has a post appeared in the form of "Want 2 no abt <subject>......"? How rude!

Good communication is two-way. The sending point needs to have confidence that the other end has received the message and understood it. In particular the amateur radio community, another global forum and one with a longer track record than CR4, has a maxim that is a good one to remember:

"When sending Morse Code, never send faster than the other end can receive".

Anything else is simply a 'broadcast'; thrown away towards whoever chooses to catch it or not, as the case may be. Perhaps the addict really doesn't want it back! Now in the context of CR4, and indeed the poster's enlightenment, that practice is simply abstruse.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 11:06 AM

There used to be a sentimental song called T,4,2...

A modern classic to be read and enjoyed in this context is "The Panda eats shoots and leaves".

An old one (different context) was: "If time flies like an arrow, what do banana flies like?"

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#58
In reply to #40

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 10:47 AM

Good word, PWSlack! I thought you meant "obtuse," which would also be correct in the last sentence of your post. However, I looked up "abstruse" before commenting and found it to be even more fitting. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary!

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#37

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 7:25 AM

I think the conspiracy nuts may have this one right, the governments have poor language skills taught so they can not be held accountable for their promises and mistakes.

I would relish a concise, non-fuzzy (yes Del, naked), non-legalese language.

say ISO 100,000.

Brad

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#38

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 7:27 AM

I don`t mind when my fingers doing the talking and eyes hearing the comments with you guys, actually talking and hearing makes better contrast with grammer and pronounciation

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#43

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 11:15 AM

Read of Runny Babbit in a Billy Sook written by Shel Silverstein

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#45

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 2:54 PM

Del, once again you've stirred up a lively and entertaining discussion. As I read the comments I am impressed with our collective comprehension of english and its connotative associations. This language called english seems to be so easily modified, so flexible in its construction yet in almost every deviation from the norm it continues to convey a remarkable depth of information.

I have often used the word "turbo" to demonstrate that flexibility. As we all know,turbine is a word used to describe a device which converts flow into rotation. Later in the 20'th century a turbine was coupled to a compressor or "supercharger"giving rise to the term turbocharger.

In the 1970's many automobiles were fitted with exhaust driven turbochargers which gave the engine much more power. Turbocharger was soon reduced to turbo in this flexible lexicon and applied to such odd uses as turbo computer programs, turbo Pascal and anything quick or more powerful.

Perhaps some day we'll see turbo cheese or turbo tomatos, perhaps even turbo toilet paper. I wouldn't bet against it happening.

Thanks again Del. You always amaze me.

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#48
In reply to #45

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:30 PM

Cheers TK (Hope you don't mind TK as an abrev' ?)

Del

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:58 PM

Not a bit. TK is just fine.

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#46

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:11 PM

'It's a Chicken and Roundabout situation!' As my old Manging Director once said.


Never heard that one before. What does that imply?

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Miss-communication

10/16/2007 3:29 PM

It's a bastardization of 'Chicken and egg' and 'swings and roundabouts'.. presumably you've heard of these two expressions? He just mixed them up..It was hard not to fall of my chair in that particular meeting.

Another guy would say 'suede-o' for pseudo ... couldn't tell if was a deliberate joke or not!

It's a bit like irregardless which now is in common usage but I belive it's a bastardization of irrespective and regardless.

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#54
In reply to #46

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 6:55 AM

Removed as the answer had already been given.

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#55

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 7:34 AM

Somewhat unrelated, but interesting nevertheless

"I never said he beat his wife"

By placing emphasis on each of the words in the above sentence, it is possible to express seven different meanings.

I never said he beat his wife - but someone else did ?

I never said he beat his wife - Straightforward denial.

I never said he beat his wife - but I may have implied it ?

I never said he beat his wife - but his brother may have ?

I never said he beat his wife - he merely gave her a light spanking ?

I never said he beat his wife - he beat his brothers wife ?

I never said he beat his wife - he beat his drum ?

I always thought this was a great example of the subtleties of the English language.

Des-Eng

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 9:45 AM

...it also shows why we must even proof read and correct grammar & spelling mistakes in what we post on CR4, as many read and use it that did not have English (or American) as a first language!!

Thanks for the priceless example....! I had not seen it before....

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#64
In reply to #56

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 11:25 AM

Andy Germany, your comment about english (and it's "American" derivative) not being the native language of many contributors is very important. Those of us who speak english as our native tongue often forget to use proper english and therefore reduce the transfer of information to those less skilled.

If we, the native english users, want our thoughts to be more widely understood then we must keep our compositions within the formal rules of english usage. While it is often quaint to express onself in the current vernacular, doing so possibly excludes some readers from comprehending the thoughts the author is attempting to convey.

As you Del, Gwen and others have brought to our attention, english is complex and we must always consider the limitations of others when communicating.

Those in this forum to whom english as a second language deserve our deepest regard and respect for this accomplishment. Were english not my native tongue, I am sure I would be severely challenged to become even moderately fluent in this complex language.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 11:56 AM

Beautifully put T.K!

I point out to bad spellers on CR4 exactly this point, sometimes only abuse comes back, but I will not stop pointing such errors out. They have to find me first and the Frankfurt area is large and I do not live in it anyway.......!

Even some non-English speaking posters could use the spelling checker, even if their grammar was not too hot, it would still make it easier for others to understand if the words were spelt correctly.....

I know my grammar in English can best best described as "quaint" sometimes.....I have been living here too long!!

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 12:18 PM

The spell checker is a double-edged sword! It can give the careless user a false sense of security while changing misspelled words into something ENTIRELY wrong. Origins become orgasms and so on. My favorite: a message about my Dad's hometown of Frankenmuth changed every instance of the town's name to Frankenstein and creatively reassigned the German names of several relatives. What a hoot!

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 12:31 PM

Then I do believe you have never ever used the spelling checker on CR4 at all!!!

I agree entirely that some MS products used to be bad in this area, they were probably not alone either!!

CR4 spelling checker is a lot simpler and therefore easier to use. Please try it, you get a choice of correct word, and the choice is yours and yours alone.......!!!! It is not fully automatic....

I expect the world's worst speller to be able to pick out the right one on occasions....! Even if he picks the wrong one on occasions, it was wrong before, its still wrong, no difference!

Lets make CR4 less nutty.........!

Have a great day.

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 12:42 PM

I will be the first to admit that I am terrible at spelling, punctuation and grammar. My worst problem is when spell check can't recognize the word I was trying to write.

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#69
In reply to #67

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 1:02 PM

Andy Germany -

Well, that's another example of miscommunication. Sorry! I did not mean to discourage the use of spell checker.

I *always* use the spell checker in CR4 and in any other program that has one.

By calling the spell checker a "double-edged sword" I meant to say that it can be either good or bad. The bad part is when careless users take the suggested words without thinking.

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#70
In reply to #69

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 1:21 PM

Absolutely: one guest in a discussion about an over unity engine wrote:-

"What's the deal with the armatures that don't understand the basic laws of physics - eh?"

Now: if we could find an armature that didn't understand (obey?) the laws of physics; we might well be able to create an over unity engine!

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#85
In reply to #69

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 5:20 PM

I agree with you.....thanks for the update.

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#78
In reply to #65

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 3:33 PM

Should that be "I have living here too long been"?

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#57

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 10:20 AM

I get a kick out of punctuation errors. There's a small park near my home that provides access to the river; it also has a fenced area for dogs.

The sign at the park entrance was apparently intended to read:
"Canoe Launch - Dog Training"

A small error in manufacturing produced a sign that reads:
"Canoe Launch-Dog Training"

I'm still waiting to see one of those launch-dogs in action!

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#71

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 1:26 PM

Much to my chagrin I often find that Americanisms which annoy me turn out to be perfectly legitimate and maybe derived from an earlier root than my preferred word...

e.g 'Obligated' ..(eughhh) I think obliged sounds better.

And creating verbs from nouns... 'ideated' nearly had me coughing up a fur-ball...but there it was in the dictionary !

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#72
In reply to #71

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 2:00 PM

I am not so sure about the "perfectly" part, Del.

The word that really irritates me is "proactive." When coined in 1933, it had a specific meaning describing interference between earlier learning and later learning. I don't understand that, but it was obviously a very precise, technical term in psychology. A few years ago, people began using it to mean the opposite of "reactive." There are a couple of problems with that.

First, the word "active" implies "not reactive." What is the difference between "We are actively dealing with the situation." and "We are being proactive in dealing with the situation." I guess the second is supposed carry a slight connotation of prevention rather than merely dealing with the situation as it occurs.

Secondly, the prefix "pro" usually denotes before or in front of in terms of space. Project = throw forward, Propel = move forward, etc. The prefix "pre," on the other hand denotes earlier in time or sequence. Prepay = pay ahead of time, Precede = go before or ahead of. Unfortunately, dictionaries now list both meanings for both prefixes.

And what about the difference between "origination" and "origin?"

There are times when this sort of imprecision can drive one nuts. It makes it hard to be exact in meaning if you have to guess at the context in which the word is used.

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#74
In reply to #72

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 2:24 PM

Nice one... good to see you being proactive on this thread .

The prefix thing can be a nightmare..it's fun to swap them around...

My daughter once called me 'insgusting' ( I was licking the gravy off my plate at the time )

If you can be outrageous can you be inrageous? etc

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#76
In reply to #72

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 2:52 PM

Within the context of Government or Business, " Proactive" means " We would like people to think we are concerned with <insert> issues" . The same applies to disclaimers published by (usually) Local Government fiefdoms that proclaim they are "non- < insert anything>". Helpfully, The Guardian newspaper provides a listing of such organizations.

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#77
In reply to #76

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 3:07 PM

I guess that things are not that much different here in the US.

When thinking of local governments, I think of the quote from Walt Kelly's cartoon character, "Pogo," who said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Apologies for the historical context of the original quote from Commodore Oliver Perry.

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#83
In reply to #77

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 4:26 PM

Kris : " Hello, I'd like to have one of the new wheelie bins that you supply for garden waste. I'm also here to pay my annual Council Tax bill."

Council official : " Certainly sir....Oh dear, I can't find your details on the computer system. We can't provide a bin."

Kris : " Well here is my full address in writing, as you can see"

Council Official : " Yes, but I don't have the address on my computer."

Kris : " That's OK, I understand. Keep the bill and stick it to a bin for me"

Hey, next day I got a bin ! A touch expensive, but I had to pay the sods anyway. If you didn't laugh you'd cry, as the saying goes.

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#92
In reply to #76

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 6:32 AM

In the context of American-owned British firms, 'proactive' is a get-out word for those who choose to disregard the requirement in their job roles to manage subordinates.

"You need to be more pro-active" is management-speak for "Go away and get on with something useful. I don't care what it is and I don't want to get involved, however, make it look good so that I can be considered for a merit rise when the time comes, simply by being your superior."

'Proactive' wasn't in the dictionary at the last review.

Now what about 'pushing the envelope'? At base level, this just comes down to holistic strategic capability.

http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/generator.htm

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#93
In reply to #92

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 6:37 AM

And to think that I thought that "pushing the envelope" was normally open code for "not bothering about legality so long as you could get away with it"

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#94
In reply to #93

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 6:43 AM

I thought it was something to do with the postal strike

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#95
In reply to #94

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 7:02 AM

Wouldn't that be "not pushing the envelope? (Even though at least some of the inaction would have been a member of the set as defined above).

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#106
In reply to #95

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 9:53 AM

Far too topological!

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#98
In reply to #93

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 7:07 AM

Er, actually that's C.A.T.N.I.P.

Cheapest Available Technology Not Involving prosecution!

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#97
In reply to #92

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 7:07 AM

I followed your link to the "Plain English" campaign - "Fighting for crystal-clear communication since 1979". Now I understand the basis of my communication problems - the crystal I mostly work with is silicon...

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#101
In reply to #97

Re: Miss-communication

10/18/2007 7:54 AM

Aw c'mon folks ( sorrry Fyz , i just had to tag on to your post since it was nearest). You must have all read thos job descriptions - "we don't do this", "we don't do that". The louder they squawk, the worse they usually are. Yeah, my spellings rubbish, but hopefully you all see what I mean.

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#73
In reply to #71

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 2:23 PM

Aaaaaaaaaaggghhhh.

I tried to look up "ideated": and found this:-

http://www.henryflynt.org/meta_tech/refutemath.html

Can anyone tell me what he means when he refers to the example: (c) There is at least one utterance. And says: (c) compels a contradiction in how you know it.

.................................

On a lighter note, I don't think we should try to stop the amalgamation of any words into the language: it's always been what has made English so rich. In France they now have a "law" to prevent the corruption of the language which makes the use of foreign words illegal. If we had that law in the USA or UK: someone would have to think of an English word for "bidet".

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#79
In reply to #73

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 3:47 PM

It beats me why we should call it a "pony" anyway. How about:
underwash, testiclean, frogspout...

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#80
In reply to #73

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 3:56 PM

Jeez that link of yours needs a government health warning!... Made my brain hurt.

Now't wrong with a few French words..hence my use of chagrin... but I draw the line at bidet!

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#81
In reply to #80

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 4:09 PM

..but I draw the line at bidet!

Is that some kind of impressionist joke ?

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: Miss-communication

10/17/2007 4:15 PM

If it was just the line, it would be a minimalist joke, actually. If the line and the bidet are both in the picture, it might be more surrealistic.

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