1221: "Nomenclature"

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enumerated powers
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby enumerated powers » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:28 pm UTC

Strunk & White, The Chicago Manual of Style, and The Associated Press Stylebook all use periods with Mr., Mrs., and Ms. (although they differ on whether that last comma before the "and" in the series belongs there).

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Klear » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:31 pm UTC

O-Deka-K wrote:
orthogon wrote:Thanks, but I think my question might have been obscured rather than clarified by the punctuation. My point was that the programme should be called "Doctor Who?", not "Doctor Who". Without the question mark it strongly implies that "Dr Who" is the protagonist's name. Then again I will count myself as doubly, triply or quadruply lucky if somebody now points out that Dr Strangelove, Dr Zhivago and/or Dr Jekyll are not the characters' real names.

Sorry, I missed the last bit of your question.

The answer is...
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Who knows?


The answer is "Who knows."

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby O-Deka-K » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:The answer is...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

No, it's just "The Doctor".

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Klear » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:46 pm UTC

O-Deka-K wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:The answer is...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

No, it's just "The Doctor".

No. Doctor Watson!

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby marsilies » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:50 pm UTC

goofy wrote:The Doctor has been called "Doctor Who" on screen once. In The War Machines, the computer WOTAN says "Doctor Who is required. Bring him here." He was also called "Dr. Who" in the early comics.

There's another mention; towards the end of the Second Doctor serial Fury from the Deep, the Doctor is addressed as "Doctor Who" by Mr Harris during the dinner party.

The Doctor has also referred to himself as Doctor Who in roundabout ways. In The Gunfighters the Doctor assumes the name of Doctor Caligari and subsequently responds to the question "Doctor Who?" with "yes, quite right". In The Highlanders, the Second Doctor assumes the name of "Doctor von Wer" (a German approximation of "Doctor Who"), and signs himself as "Dr. W" in The Underwater Menace. He similarly poses as "the Great Wizard Quiquaequod" in The Dæmons; 'Qui', 'quae', and 'quod' being, respectively, the masculine, feminine and neuter Latin translation of 'who'.

Of course, the end credits for the show listed the character as "Doctor Who" for the first 18 seasons, as well as for the 2005 Christopher Eccleston season. David Tennant, by his request, was credited as "Doctor Who" for one episode.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby O-Deka-K » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:08 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:The answer is...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

No, it's just "The Doctor".

No. Doctor Watson!

That Sketch Has Been Abandoned

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:10 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:...
Who knows?


The answer is "Who knows."

The ex-president of the People's Republic knows? Is he on record as saying so? I think that needs a citation. Or do you mean the guy on first base?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby O-Deka-K » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:23 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

The ex-president of the People's Republic knows? Is he on record as saying so? I think that needs a citation. Or do you mean the guy on first base?

The Guy's on second base!

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby mattcoz » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:40 pm UTC

O-Deka-K wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

The ex-president of the People's Republic knows? Is he on record as saying so? I think that needs a citation. Or do you mean the guy on first base?

The Guy's on second base!

What's on second

drakvl
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby drakvl » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:41 pm UTC

Ah, A Wrinkle in Time, the book that inspired my ill-conceived decision to start on Joyce with Finnegans Wake. So, am I right to read into this that Mrs. Who may be a future incarnation of The Doctor?

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby mooncow » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:43 pm UTC

goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period.

This is not true. There are plenty of British citations in the OED for Dr. and Mrs. with the period.

OED citations, British or otherwise, are not always of 'correct' usage. The OED captures historical usage, and doesn't necessarily judge correctness. That's a pedant's job.

blowfishhootie wrote:And the only question that actually matters in language is this: Did you understand the point being communicated? Great, then the language use was logical.

Bilge. If the point being communicated was understood, then the language use was effective, but not necessarily remotely logical. Human beings are surprisingly good at being able to interpret illogicality. But not always good at spotting trolls.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby O-Deka-K » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:46 pm UTC

mattcoz wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

The ex-president of the People's Republic knows? Is he on record as saying so? I think that needs a citation. Or do you mean the guy on first base?

The Guy's on second base!

What's on second

What's the guy's name on first base?

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:48 pm UTC

mooncow wrote:
goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period.

This is not true. There are plenty of British citations in the OED for Dr. and Mrs. with the period.

OED citations, British or otherwise, are not always of 'correct' usage. The OED captures historical usage, and doesn't necessarily judge correctness. That's a pedant's job.

blowfishhootie wrote:And the only question that actually matters in language is this: Did you understand the point being communicated? Great, then the language use was logical.

Bilge. If the point being communicated was understood, then the language use was effective, but not necessarily remotely logical. Human beings are surprisingly good at being able to interpret illogicality. But not always good at spotting trolls.


You conveniently left out the part of my post where I pointed out the so-simple-a-toddler-could-understand-it logic behind the period at the end of Mrs., that same logic that apparently is giving you fits.

What makes Mrs. incorrect and Mrs correct? Give me some kind of scientific basis here. It is, in fact, totally arbitrary.

I just want to make sure, you said this:

people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans


... and are now implying that other people are trolls. Is that right?

I mean, I think the word "troll" is totally stupid and worthless in any context, but if we're going to throw that word around ... really?

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Eshru » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:57 pm UTC

Angelastic wrote:Abbot and Costello have a sketch about baseball, eh? No wonder Costello often gets confused with Joe Jackson, the baseball player cum pop star. ;)

Hahaha! You win. Easy way to remember is that he always wears his black socks, but he never wears no shoes.

I got two out of three of the jokes in the comic, missed the mouse over until thread. This is, interestingly enough, exactly how many of the jokes I'd like to get every comic. Enough to enjoy but still discover something new.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:06 pm UTC

Eshru wrote:
Angelastic wrote:Abbot and Costello have a sketch about baseball, eh? No wonder Costello often gets confused with Joe Jackson, the baseball player cum pop star. ;)

Hahaha! You win. Easy way to remember is that he always wears his black socks, but he never wears no shoes.


I think he was wearing shoes, maybe he's just steppin' out of them?
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby ijuin » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:50 pm UTC

He's not nicknamed "Shoeless" Joe Jackson for nothing, you know.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby goofy » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:38 pm UTC

mooncow wrote:
goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period.

This is not true. There are plenty of British citations in the OED for Dr. and Mrs. with the period.

OED citations, British or otherwise, are not always of 'correct' usage. The OED captures historical usage, and doesn't necessarily judge correctness. That's a pedant's job.


I am operating under the assumption that any notion of correctness has to account for the facts of usage. If your rule ignores how English is used by real English writers in the context you're concerned about, then it's not a useful rule.


marsilies wrote:There's another mention; towards the end of the Second Doctor serial Fury from the Deep, the Doctor is addressed as "Doctor Who" by Mr Harris during the dinner party.

This is one I'm not familiar with. How do you know this?

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:01 pm UTC

Wooloomooloo wrote:Hmmm, is Randall meta-trolling? A continuation of http://xkcd.com/891/? "If you get this, you're... just too old"? Although to be honest, that doesn't include the alt-text (no idea about that, haven't read that book).

Never mind those references. Has it occurred to anybody that the "future" in Back to the Future II is now less than two years away?

Q: Who sang "I Can See For Miles"?
A: Yes.
Q: Who sang "I've Seen All Good People"?
A: Yes.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Jackpot777 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:05 pm UTC

Antior wrote:
dzamie wrote:In Doctor Who, there's a running gag where someone introduces him as the Doctor, and someone else invariably replies with "Doctor who?" to which the response (usually by the Doctor) is "no, just the Doctor."


Silence will fall when the question is asked...

Also, referring to The Doctor (character) as "Doctor Who" is about the same level of ignorance as mixing up Vulcans and Klingons.


(cough)

From the first television serial through to Logopolis (the last story of Season 18 and also of the Tom Baker era), the lead character was credited as "Doctor Who" (or sometimes "Dr Who"). Starting from Peter Davison's first story, Castrovalva (the first story of the series' Season 19) to the end of Season 26, he is credited simply as "The Doctor".

---

For the 2005 revival starring Christopher Eccleston, the credit reverted to "Doctor Who". However, in "The Christmas Invasion", and subsequent stories featuring David Tennant, the character is once again identified in the closing credits as "The Doctor", with "The Parting of the Ways" being the only episode to feature David Tennant in which he is credited as playing "Doctor Who". According to Doctor Who Magazine No. 367 this reversion was specifically requested by Tennant. The lead character credit has remained "The Doctor" for Matt Smith's tenure as the eleventh incarnation.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:06 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:Has it occurred to anybody that the "future" in Back to the Future II is now less than two years away?


Yes, everybody has. And they won't stop posting screenshots of the date from inside the car on my Facebook newsfeed, though it is often doctored to say THIS year (whatever year it happens to be) is the year they went to.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby cream wobbly » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:42 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
mooncow wrote:
m_dow wrote:Incidentally, it's also a point of pedantic significance that Randall didn't put a period after the "Mrs" in "Mrs Whatsit."


It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period. The period indicates omitted letters, and is correctly used for shortenings like "Rev.", "Gen.", "Pres.", etc. Titles like "Dr", "Mr", "Mrs" have letters omitted from the middle, not from the end, so "Mrs" is quite correct, although people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans.


Thanks for this. I'm trying to know British English rather than american, so it's always nice to become aware of another difference. Not long ago, I was quite surprised that the correct British form is "aeroplane".

Don't forget "aerobics", as opposed to the correct US "English" form "airbics". Oh, that's right, they only "What would Webster do?" when it suits them. :P

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby cream wobbly » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:44 pm UTC

mooncow wrote:
goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period.

This is not true. There are plenty of British citations in the OED for Dr. and Mrs. with the period.

OED citations, British or otherwise, are not always of 'correct' usage. The OED captures historical usage, and doesn't necessarily judge correctness. That's a pedant's job.
Like Webster. Dozy bugger, he was.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:
Klear wrote:
mooncow wrote:
m_dow wrote:Incidentally, it's also a point of pedantic significance that Randall didn't put a period after the "Mrs" in "Mrs Whatsit."


It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period. The period indicates omitted letters, and is correctly used for shortenings like "Rev.", "Gen.", "Pres.", etc. Titles like "Dr", "Mr", "Mrs" have letters omitted from the middle, not from the end, so "Mrs" is quite correct, although people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans.


Thanks for this. I'm trying to know British English rather than american, so it's always nice to become aware of another difference. Not long ago, I was quite surprised that the correct British form is "aeroplane".

Don't forget "aerobics", as opposed to the correct US "English" form "airbics". Oh, that's right, they only "What would Webster do?" when it suits them. :P


... what?

I feel like you're trying to make some comment about the inconsistency of English spelling, but that's true in any English-speaking country. And any word you choose, there is some logical reason for why it is spelled the way it is - in cases where the spelling doesn't make sense, it is usually because the pronunciation of the word has changed. Just because you personally don't know something, that doesn't make assuming some ridiculous thing that suits your preconceived notions valid.

Also, I'm American, and "airplane" and "aerobics" as I say them do not start with the same sound. I can't figure out your point.
Last edited by blowfishhootie on Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

cream wobbly wrote:
Klear wrote:
mooncow wrote:
m_dow wrote:Incidentally, it's also a point of pedantic significance that Randall didn't put a period after the "Mrs" in "Mrs Whatsit."


It's a point a pedantic significance that "Mrs" is correctly written without a period. The period indicates omitted letters, and is correctly used for shortenings like "Rev.", "Gen.", "Pres.", etc. Titles like "Dr", "Mr", "Mrs" have letters omitted from the middle, not from the end, so "Mrs" is quite correct, although people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans.


Thanks for this. I'm trying to know British English rather than american, so it's always nice to become aware of another difference. Not long ago, I was quite surprised that the correct British form is "aeroplane".

Don't forget "aerobics", as opposed to the correct US "English" form "airbics". Oh, that's right, they only "What would Webster do?" when it suits them. :P

News flash: Americans invented the airplane. They get to name it.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:29 pm UTC

Airbics is what be terrizin are cuntry.
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby mooncow » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:13 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:You conveniently left out the part of my post...

No, I didn't "conveniently" leave it out. This is a forum. Anyone can go back and read your post in full, so I don't need to quote it in full. I quoted the bit I wished to comment on, which was bilge: you asserted, incorrectly, that if I understood the point being communicated then the language use was evidently logical.

blowfishhootie wrote:...where I pointed out the so-simple-a-toddler-could-understand-it logic behind the period at the end of Mrs., that same logic that apparently is giving you fits.

Unfortunately, I am neither the one having fits nor the one who appears to require explanations so simple that a toddler could understand them.

blowfishhootie wrote:What makes Mrs. incorrect and Mrs correct? Give me some kind of scientific basis here. It is, in fact, totally arbitrary.

No, of course it's not "totally arbitrary", and asserting that it is in the same breath as asking for an explanation will not make it so. The period derives from a mark used to indicate omitted letters. When the letters are omitted from the end, the mark indicating their omission goes at the end. When the letters are omitted from the middle, the mark indicating their omission would logically go, if anywhere, in the middle. Indeed, formerly they were written something like "M.r" and "M.rs". Look at some old manuscripts or carvings.

Also see http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/pun ... reviations

blowfishhootie wrote:I just want to make sure, you said this:
people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans

... and are now implying that other people are trolls. Is that right?

Oh dear. No. Notwithstanding the explanation above, I was perfectly well aware that there is logic in some of the other conventions. I was deliberately asserting a more extreme form of the argument to be humorously provocative. This is called "trolling". Now, really, go and have a lie down.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:49 am UTC

O-Deka-K wrote:
mattcoz wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Klear wrote:
O-Deka-K wrote:...
Who knows?

The answer is "Who knows."

The ex-president of the People's Republic knows? Is he on record as saying so? I think that needs a citation. Or do you mean the guy on first base?

The Guy's on second base!

What's on second

What's the guy's name on first base?

Zhr Doctporz

Edit: I'm leravinh mx post the way it was when I wrote it... intoxicated.. orry abouát that.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby goofy » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:34 am UTC

mooncow wrote:The period derives from a mark used to indicate omitted letters.


I don't think this is true.

And even if it was true, it's irrelevant to how the period should be used now.

mooncow wrote:Indeed, formerly they were written something like "M.r" and "M.rs". Look at some old manuscripts or carvings.


Do you have some examples of this? Because I don't believe you.
Last edited by goofy on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Epistemonas » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:40 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
mooncow wrote:people do often write it as "Mrs." without logic, especially Americans.

You seem to be confusing you being too stubborn/clueless to understand something with that same something not being logical. Here's the logic: In American English, almost any single word (as opposed to an acronym) that is abbreviated will get a period on the end. I want to say any instead of "almost any," but I'm sure there's some example to the contrary, because language is a complex beast that can't be summed up in any practical number of single-sentence rules.

A counter-example: abbreviations formed with an apostrophe, like cont’d for continued and ass’n for association, don’t have a period at the end.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:57 am UTC

goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:The period derives from a mark used to indicate omitted letters.


I don't think this is true.

And even if it was true, it's irrelevant to how the period should be used now.


You are absolutely right, and this is what strict linguistic prescriptivists always fail to understand. Language evolves constantly. If we traveled back in time just a few hundred years to an English-speaking country, we would be unable to communicate, because pronunciations, vocabularies, types of slang, and so on all are constantly changing. Hell, even going back just 100 years would make communicating very difficult, though most of us could probably manage. By the time you come up with a rule, it's already outdated and people are using the language in some other way. You can't put limits on language, it's just not possible. I mean, you can, but the limits will never hold and will never actually reflect the full range of contemporary linguistic practices. There is no such thing as an objectively "correct" use of language.

Any thought you have, there are basically infinite ways to describe it using any language. It is one of the things that makes language so amazing and humans so incredibly removed from the rest of the animal kingdom. Prescriptivists try and put arbitrary and baseless limits on this beautiful tool humans have created, for reasons I cannot fathom.

Mooncow, since ancient language use is the only right one (assuming your claims are even correct, I don't know and I agree with goofy that it's irrelevant), why are you addressing me with the pronoun "you" here? Don't you know that historically that is only a plural pronoun? You really need to be using thou, thee, thine, etc. How ignorant of you!

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby San Fran Sam » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:36 am UTC

marsilies wrote:
goofy wrote:The Doctor has been called "Doctor Who" on screen once. In The War Machines, the computer WOTAN says "Doctor Who is required. Bring him here." He was also called "Dr. Who" in the early comics.

There's another mention; towards the end of the Second Doctor serial Fury from the Deep, the Doctor is addressed as "Doctor Who" by Mr Harris during the dinner party.

The Doctor has also referred to himself as Doctor Who in roundabout ways. In The Gunfighters the Doctor assumes the name of Doctor Caligari and subsequently responds to the question "Doctor Who?" with "yes, quite right". In The Highlanders, the Second Doctor assumes the name of "Doctor von Wer" (a German approximation of "Doctor Who"), and signs himself as "Dr. W" in The Underwater Menace. He similarly poses as "the Great Wizard Quiquaequod" in The Dæmons; 'Qui', 'quae', and 'quod' being, respectively, the masculine, feminine and neuter Latin translation of 'who'.

Of course, the end credits for the show listed the character as "Doctor Who" for the first 18 seasons, as well as for the 2005 Christopher Eccleston season. David Tennant, by his request, was credited as "Doctor Who" for one episode.


I don't know if I should impressed by your knowledge of that or scared.

You do know that Matt Smith is leaving the series?

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby OP Tipping » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:04 am UTC

There's a Dr Who and a Dr Watson but know Dr Idunno or Dr Idon'tgiveadamn.
a) Please explain the specific MEDICAL reason for ordering this MEDICATION !
b) Please state the nature of your ailment or injury.
c) One a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?
d) Please state the nature of the medical emergency.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:03 am UTC

So, it appears I wasn't one of yesterday's lucky 10,000 after all, but am instead an old-timer who hasn't watched the series since the early '80s.

OP Tipping wrote:There's a Dr Who and a Dr Watson but know Dr Idunno or Dr Idon'tgiveadamn.


Sure there is. Dr Idon'tgiveadamn is the brother of Mr Frank Lee Idon'tgiveadamn. I thank you.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Klear » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:46 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
goofy wrote:
mooncow wrote:The period derives from a mark used to indicate omitted letters.


I don't think this is true.

And even if it was true, it's irrelevant to how the period should be used now.


You are absolutely right, and this is what strict linguistic prescriptivists always fail to understand. Language evolves constantly. If we traveled back in time just a few hundred years to an English-speaking country, we would be unable to communicate, because pronunciations, vocabularies, types of slang, and so on all are constantly changing. Hell, even going back just 100 years would make communicating very difficult, though most of us could probably manage. By the time you come up with a rule, it's already outdated and people are using the language in some other way. You can't put limits on language, it's just not possible. I mean, you can, but the limits will never hold and will never actually reflect the full range of contemporary linguistic practices. There is no such thing as an objectively "correct" use of language.

Any thought you have, there are basically infinite ways to describe it using any language. It is one of the things that makes language so amazing and humans so incredibly removed from the rest of the animal kingdom. Prescriptivists try and put arbitrary and baseless limits on this beautiful tool humans have created, for reasons I cannot fathom.

Mooncow, since ancient language use is the only right one (assuming your claims are even correct, I don't know and I agree with goofy that it's irrelevant), why are you addressing me with the pronoun "you" here? Don't you know that historically that is only a plural pronoun? You really need to be using thou, thee, thine, etc. How ignorant of you!


U R rite lol. grammer sux!!

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby Plutarch » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:Language evolves constantly. If we traveled back in time just a few hundred years to an English-speaking country, we would be unable to communicate, because pronunciations, vocabularies, types of slang, and so on all are constantly changing. Hell, even going back just 100 years would make communicating very difficult, though most of us could probably manage.


I agree with your general point, but not the part about communication being difficult if we went back 100 years. P G Wodehouse's first stories, published around 1903, contain nothing that would be confusing to a person from 2013. Jane Austen was published around 1813, and that still seems clear enough. Samuel Pepys wrote his diary about 1660, and I think most literate people today could read that. It would be a bit more difficult to talking to Samuel Pepys, but I think the difficulties could be overcome quite quickly. I don't know how far back a modern English speaker would have to go before communicating in English became really difficult.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby ijuin » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:38 pm UTC

The difficulty, as I understand it, would be in a present-day person speaking to the person from 100 years ago, as our current mode of speech is filled with enough neologisms that one would have to make a constant effort and use a number of circumlocutions in order to avoid saying something completely unfamiliar to the Edwardian era person.

Regarding the use of thou (and its objective case form "thee" and possessive case form "thy"), this is the "intimate" firm of address (a structure found in most European languages but abandoned in modern English). As such, it is generally only appropriate for addressing someone that one is on a first-name basis with. "You" still applies in other situations,

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orthogon
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

ijuin wrote:The difficulty, as I understand it, would be in a present-day person speaking to the person from 100 years ago, as our current mode of speech is filled with enough neologisms that one would have to make a constant effort and use a number of circumlocutions in order to avoid saying something completely unfamiliar to the Edwardian era person.

Ah, so there would be unidirectional intelligibility, like the way BrE speakers generally understand AmE, but AmE speakers struggle to understand BrE?

ijuin wrote:Regarding the use of thou (and its objective case form "thee" and possessive case form "thy"), this is the "intimate" firm of address (a structure found in most European languages but abandoned in modern English). As such, it is generally only appropriate for addressing someone that one is on a first-name basis with. "You" still applies in other situations,

I'm not clear which form our ancestors would use on a web forum though. What is the netiquette on the use of T- and V- pronouns on fora when writing in languages that have them?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:08 pm UTC

Plutarch wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:Language evolves constantly. If we traveled back in time just a few hundred years to an English-speaking country, we would be unable to communicate, because pronunciations, vocabularies, types of slang, and so on all are constantly changing. Hell, even going back just 100 years would make communicating very difficult, though most of us could probably manage.


I agree with your general point, but not the part about communication being difficult if we went back 100 years. P G Wodehouse's first stories, published around 1903, contain nothing that would be confusing to a person from 2013. Jane Austen was published around 1813, and that still seems clear enough. Samuel Pepys wrote his diary about 1660, and I think most literate people today could read that. It would be a bit more difficult to talking to Samuel Pepys, but I think the difficulties could be overcome quite quickly. I don't know how far back a modern English speaker would have to go before communicating in English became really difficult.

Middle English for reading difficulties, Old English for verbal difficulties, without taking slang, accents, and subtle shifts in the meanings of words into account. Also, even in Middle English, every letter in a word was pronounced, and there were a bunch of weird articles and pronouns. And people back then probably wouldn't understand what you were writing or saying. 1660 is at the very end of Early Modern English. 1400s or before is Middle English, 1000s or before is Old English. And then there's region/dialect to take into account. Chaucer, who's squarely in the Middle English period (although closer to late than early), is pretty readable in the original Middle English (London dialect). I'll put it this way: when I read Chaucer, I laugh at most of the jokes. The Wycliffe bible is pretty readable, but there's some weird-looking shit in there, too (and also far fewer jokes). Anyone writing out in the shires at the exact same time might as well have been writing in Anglo-Saxon for all the good it would do anyone whose education was entirely in Modern English.

All of the above is painted in very broad strokes. If you want more specifics, take the 300 level history of the English language class. It's really interesting.

jpvlsmv
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby jpvlsmv » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:This reminds me of the whole "Hu is the president of China" routine that the Now Show did after the last-but-one Politburo reshuffle. The Prime Minister was Wen Jiabao, which doubled the comedic potential. ("The Chinese Prime Minister is coming to visit." "When?" "Yes" etc).

And now they have a president named "She".

So She replaced Who? When did this happen?

Personally, I prefer when the Animaniacs' "Slappy Squirrel" went to Woodstock. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0513247/
What's the name of the band playing on stage? Who. The Band. No, they're playing later.

--Joe

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San Fran Sam
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Re: 1221: "Nomenclature"

Postby San Fran Sam » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

I just noticed that if the two on the left are supposed to be Abbott and Costello, then Randall got the hats wrong. Costello was wearing the baseball cap and Abbott was wearing the fedora.

BTW, who knows?

The Shadow knows.


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