1368: "One Of The"

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Pfhorrest
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 16, 2014 9:38 pm UTC

"We are gathered here today before one or more gods or fewer…"
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stuppie
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby stuppie » Sat May 17, 2014 2:22 am UTC

Where can I buy a "One of the World's Greatest Dads" mug?

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snowyowl
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby snowyowl » Sat May 17, 2014 4:50 pm UTC

"Of all the people standing in this exact spot in this exact room, and having this exact conversation at this exact moment, you are definitely in the top 5000.

Top 4700, even.

I won't go as far as 4600."
The preceding comment is an automated response.

xtifr
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby xtifr » Tue May 20, 2014 3:52 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Mikeski wrote:(And, as always, I'll mention that one could remember a singular gender-free pronoun that has been used and understood for a very long time, if one tries. One doesn't have to torture another redundant word into the language.)
"One" is indefinite, we need a definite pronoun.


And we have one. With centuries of use behind it. Singular they. It's even found in the Bible, which means that only blasphemers* would claim it's wrong!

(I realize you basically said this, but I wanted to re-emphasize the point. One of my pet peeves is people who try to inflict incorrect and stupid grammatical rules on English. Like the idiots who claim that "less" can only be used with non-countable nouns, even though it has a history of being used with countables that dates back to before the Norman invasion and continues unabated to this day. Calling it wrong is, to bring this vaguely back on topic, one of the stupidest claims someone can make!) :)

* At least according to those peculiar sects which consider the KJV to be the definitive version of the Bible, and don' t want to hear any of your nonsense about what Greek or Aramic versions might say. And yes, they exist.

orthogon wrote:
brenok wrote:Yes. Independently of which subjective meter you classify the presidents, if there were N presidents, any president is on the list of N best presidents.

This might be the conclusion from mapping the idea to the mathematical concept of the i largest members of a set of N objects then taking a degenerate case as i->N, but I doubt that most English speakers would agree that it was a reasonable interpretation of "one of the best".


Did you forget what site you were on? Casual English speakers might agree with you, but xkcd fans revel in the Mathematician's Answer. Take your "reasonable interpretations" elsewhere, bub! Brenok's version is one of the most reasonable interpretations around! :twisted:

And this is one of the archest posts I've ever made.
"[T]he author has followed the usual practice of contemporary books on graph theory, namely to use words that are similar but not identical to the terms used in other books on graph theory."
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orthogon
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby orthogon » Tue May 20, 2014 12:43 pm UTC

xtifr wrote:
orthogon wrote:
brenok wrote:Yes. Independently of which subjective meter you classify the presidents, if there were N presidents, any president is on the list of N best presidents.

This might be the conclusion from mapping the idea to the mathematical concept of the i largest members of a set of N objects then taking a degenerate case as i->N, but I doubt that most English speakers would agree that it was a reasonable interpretation of "one of the best".


Did you forget what site you were on? Casual English speakers might agree with you, but xkcd fans revel in the Mathematician's Answer. Take your "reasonable interpretations" elsewhere, bub! Brenok's version is one of the most reasonable interpretations around! :twisted:

:)
I didn't forget - xkcd explicitly includes language alongside math[s] amongst its fields of endeavour, so I am within my rights to be anal on behalf of the semantics of natural language.

However, let's suppose brenok is indeed correct. This leads us to some interesting conclusions. For example, when "Nuno" claims here that I'm so excited is "not one of his best movies"*, (s)he is clearly implying that the film is not in fact the work of the genius Almodóvar at all, though frustratingly (s)he does not go so far as to indicate who the real director might be or providing any evidence for this allegation. Similarly, when Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said that a particular match was "not one of [Giroud's] best games", we have to wonder who was on the pitch wearing Olivier Giroud's shirt, and whether the FA should have investigated the use of an imposter in his place.

Also: nobody has ever called me "bub" before...
*Nuno is wrong anyway: the movie (Los amantes pasajeros) is brilliant.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby xtifr » Wed May 21, 2014 8:11 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
xtifr wrote:Did you forget what site you were on? Casual English speakers might agree with you, but xkcd fans revel in the Mathematician's Answer. Take your "reasonable interpretations" elsewhere, bub! Brenok's version is one of the most reasonable interpretations around! :twisted:

:)
I didn't forget - xkcd explicitly includes language alongside math[s] amongst its fields of endeavour, so I am within my rights to be anal on behalf of the semantics of natural language.


Both the semantics of natural language and the "Mathematician's Answer" fall within the domain of language.

However, let's suppose brenok is indeed correct.


Brenok is, indeed, correct. To prove him correct, one only needs a single example, and he provided one. Your attempted counterexample merely shows that his rule is not universal. To prove him wrong, you'd have to show that his rule couldn't work under any possible circumstances. And obviously you can't do that.

If language didn't have idiosyncrasies and ambiguities, it would be a lot less interesting to those of a playful turn of mind. 8-)
"[T]he author has followed the usual practice of contemporary books on graph theory, namely to use words that are similar but not identical to the terms used in other books on graph theory."
-- Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming, Vol I, 3rd ed.

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mathmannix
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby mathmannix » Thu May 22, 2014 8:20 pm UTC

Philbert wrote:"One of the best" is not clearly objective.
If I say "George W. Bush" is one of the best presidents of all time, is that an objective statement?


It is an objective statement if you have an objective reason to support it. The statement is (intentionally) vague for several reasons. One is, yes, that it doesn't say "one of the [n] best presidents of all time." There have been (as of this post) 44 Presidents (two of whom were the same person), urban legends of additional presidents aside. So, even if the statement is interpreted in what is likely the usual way, George Bush might not be one of the, say, 5 best Presidents, but he may be one of the, say, 40 best Presidents.

A second reason is that the statement "of all time" could reasonably mean "including the future Presidents not yet in office." While there will [presumably? assuredly?] be a finite number of Presidents [of the United States of America] in "all time", nobody truly knows if this number is 44, 45, or 10,000. It is unlikely that, no matter how great one thinks George Bush was as a President (or Theodore Roosevelt, or James K. Polk, or any other past President for that matter), if there are a future 9,956 Presidents to follow over the next 50,000 years or more or less, he will make the top 40.

A third reason is that "of the United States of America" was never specified. I don't know if the word President to signify a head of state was first used in the context of the USA, but it is used by (as far as I know) a majority of nations now. There have been hundreds of Presidents of other countries, and that's just in the past.

A fourth reason, probably the most significant obstacle to saying "George W. Bush is one of the best presidents of all time", is that it is not clearly expressed what standard is being used to determine how "good" a President is/was, in order to judge them in order from "best" to "worst". This could be by height, IQ, number of books written, number of wars started, etc. - many, many ways.

The English language is vague, and so is that statement.
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri May 23, 2014 7:59 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:A third reason is that "of the United States of America" was never specified. I don't know if the word President to signify a head of state was first used in the context of the USA, but it is used by (as far as I know) a majority of nations now. There have been hundreds of Presidents of other countries, and that's just in the past.

I can only think of 3 republics with English as an official language (Republic of Ireland, South Africa and the USA). If president had to be the official title and similar words in other languages don't count there may not be that many of them.

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orthogon
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 23, 2014 9:28 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
mathmannix wrote:A third reason is that "of the United States of America" was never specified. I don't know if the word President to signify a head of state was first used in the context of the USA, but it is used by (as far as I know) a majority of nations now. There have been hundreds of Presidents of other countries, and that's just in the past.

I can only think of 3 republics with English as an official language (Republic of Ireland, South Africa and the USA). If president had to be the official title and similar words in other languages don't count there may not be that many of them.

What about India? Though after reading this section of the Wikipedia entry, I'm totally unclear as to whether English is or isn't an official language of India. It seems to change its mind in each successive sentence. This article adds extra information/confusion to the issue. However I love the way that there is an official aim to enrich Hindi by deliberately incorporating words from the other languages. This is 180 degrees away from the approach taken by the Academie Francaise.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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PinkShinyRose
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri May 23, 2014 12:35 pm UTC

I didn't add India because, while I was not entirely sure, I thought English was unofficial there, and I thought they legislate in Hindi. Now that I think about it, doesn't the US lack an official language? Although the title of president is probably official and of the English variety as they legislate in English. This makes me wonder about Ireland and South Africa though: is president (with English pronunciation) (co-)official there?

flymousechiu
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby flymousechiu » Wed May 28, 2014 1:11 pm UTC

someone ought to delete all of the "one of the" on the wikipedia page for N1

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mathmannix
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Re: 1368: "One Of The"

Postby mathmannix » Wed May 28, 2014 4:53 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
mathmannix wrote:A third reason is that "of the United States of America" was never specified. I don't know if the word President to signify a head of state was first used in the context of the USA, but it is used by (as far as I know) a majority of nations now. There have been hundreds of Presidents of other countries, and that's just in the past.

I can only think of 3 republics with English as an official language (Republic of Ireland, South Africa and the USA). If president had to be the official title and similar words in other languages don't count there may not be that many of them.


There are actually a lot more than those three.

Wikipedia has this list of countries which have English as [an/the] official language. Many are monarchies (most of which have Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch; the others are Lesotho, Swaziland, and Tonga); Samoa was a monarchy until 2007, and its head of state is the O le Ao o le Malo, a tribal chief of sorts.

The rest have a President. (The majority are in Africa or Oceania.) They are:
Spoiler:
Botswana (English & Setswana)
Cameroon (English & French)
Dominica (English only)
Eritrea (English, Arabic, Tigrinya)
Fiji (English, Fijian, Fiji Hindi)
The Gambia (English only)
Ghana (English only)
Guyana (English and 11 other national languages, including Spanish and Portuguese)
India (English, Hindi, and 21 other national languages)
Ireland (English and Irish)
Kenya (English and Swahili)
Kiribati (English and Gilbertese)
Liberia (English only)
Malawi (English and Chichewa)
Malta (English and Maltese)
Marshall Islands (English and Marshallese)
Mauritius (English, French, and Mauritian Creole)
Micronesia (only English is official)
Namibia (English and 8 recognized regional languages, including German)
Nauru (English and Nauruan)
Nigeria (only English is official)
Pakistan (English and Urdu are official)
Palau (English and Palauan)
The Philippines (English, Filipino, and 19 recognized national languages)
Rwanda (English, French, and Kinyarwanda)
Seychelles (English, French, and Seychellois Creole)
Sierra Leone (English only)
Singapore (English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil)
Solomon Islands (English only)
South Africa (English and 10 other languages)
South Sudan (only English is official)
Sudan (English and Arabic)
Tanzania (English and Swahili)
Trinidad and Tobago (English, Trinidadian Creole, and Tobagonian Creole)
Uganda (English and Swahili)
Vanuatu (English, French, and Bislama)
Zambia (English and 8 recognized regional languages)
Zimbabwe (16 languages including English)

English is also a recognized language in Brunei and Malaysia (which are monarchies) and Sri Lanka (which has a President).

English is not the official language of the United States, which has no official language, but it is the de facto language.

In summary, of the 40 countries listed above with English as a language and having a President for head of state, there are 21 in Africa, 8 in Oceania, 5 in Asia, 4 in the Americas, and 2 in Europe.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.


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