How do linguists define and use these terms?

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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#41  Postby nunnington » Mar 21, 2014 12:35 pm

Yes, it used to be one of the great rules in written English - don't start a sentence with 'and', but now it seems acceptable, as long as it follows on. And I think this is sensible. Hee hee hee.

But in conversation, it is one of the great fillers, which we use, to have a pause/think, rather like 'er'.

There are some interesting uses of it - e.g. emphatic 'and' - 'And the bastard never even thanked me for removing his condoms!'

Also interesting is 'And?', as a one word reply, meaning something like 'OK, what is the implication of what you have said, because so far, it seem a load of nonsense.'

I think a lot of focus has been on its use between clauses, where it conveys time and also a logical connection, e.g. 'he went in the park and fell over', 'he slipped on a banana skin and broke his leg'. Also interesting is its use with imperatives - 'do that, and I'll kill you'.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#42  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 2:46 pm

nunnington wrote:Yes, it used to be one of the great rules in written English - don't start a sentence with 'and', but now it seems acceptable, as long as it follows on. And I think this is sensible. Hee hee hee.

But in conversation, it is one of the great fillers, which we use, to have a pause/think, rather like 'er'.

There are some interesting uses of it - e.g. emphatic 'and' - 'And the bastard never even thanked me for removing his condoms!'

Also interesting is 'And?', as a one word reply, meaning something like 'OK, what is the implication of what you have said, because so far, it seem a load of nonsense.'

I think a lot of focus has been on its use between clauses, where it conveys time and also a logical connection, e.g. 'he went in the park and fell over', 'he slipped on a banana skin and broke his leg'. Also interesting is its use with imperatives - 'do that, and I'll kill you'.


All good. I agree with what you say. It's just when people put the "and" before every clause it gets a little annoying. "annnnd, he like called me, annnnd he axed me to call him back, annnnd my dad beat me..." very annoying.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#43  Postby seeker » Mar 21, 2014 3:11 pm

Agrippina wrote:
seeker wrote:
hackenslash wrote:I wonder why you would be asking linguists about this?

Why not? It's a discipline that is doing some empirical research about those topics. I'm interested in empirical research about those topics.

Don't make me laugh. "Empirical research!" :roll: If you were interested in empiricism, there wouldn't be so many threads where you argue with people about the origin of the universe. :nono:

It seems that you're confusing me with another person. I've never argued with people about the origin of the universe.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#44  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 3:12 pm

seeker wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
seeker wrote:
hackenslash wrote:I wonder why you would be asking linguists about this?

Why not? It's a discipline that is doing some empirical research about those topics. I'm interested in empirical research about those topics.

Don't make me laugh. "Empirical research!" :roll: If you were interested in empiricism, there wouldn't be so many threads where you argue with people about the origin of the universe. :nono:

It seems that you're confusing me with another person. I've never argued with people about the origin of the universe.


Oooops! You're right. I apologise. My mistake. :thumbup:
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#45  Postby seeker » Mar 21, 2014 3:18 pm

hackenslash wrote:
seeker wrote:]I don't have your a priori trust in philosophers, nor your a priori distrust in linguists.

I have neither trust in philosophers nor distrust in linguists, but semantics is a philosophical discipline, not a linguistic one.

I think you're wrong on this. A branch of linguistics studies semantics (mainly its empirical aspects). Also, a branch of philosophy studies semantics (mainly its conceptual aspects). Both disciplines are relevant for different purposes, but here I'm more interested in the branch of linguistics. There's nothing wrong with that. And, given that I'm interested in the branch of linguistics, asking linguists within this forum is a rational choice.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#46  Postby seeker » Mar 21, 2014 3:27 pm

Agrippina wrote:
seeker wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
seeker wrote:
Why not? It's a discipline that is doing some empirical research about those topics. I'm interested in empirical research about those topics.

Don't make me laugh. "Empirical research!" :roll: If you were interested in empiricism, there wouldn't be so many threads where you argue with people about the origin of the universe. :nono:

It seems that you're confusing me with another person. I've never argued with people about the origin of the universe.


Oooops! You're right. I apologise. My mistake. :thumbup:

OK. I want to clarify that I didn't want you to "go away" from the thread that I started. I think that your answers have been unnecessarily hostile, and that you were not understanding my question (which was not "how Wiki or OED define these words", but "how linguists use these words nowadays", specifically in several more complex cases). This is the reason why my question was addressed to linguists.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#47  Postby seeker » Mar 21, 2014 3:30 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
Agrippina wrote:Thank god you arrived. Please explain to seeker what his words mean, so we can move on! :thumbup:

The point about his questions being malformed still stands, though, to some extent.

Hello Zwaarddijk. Why do you think my questions are malformed?

Zwaarddijk wrote:the question how linguists define some thing is relevant if you want to understand what linguists are saying - any scholars will give definitions for various terms; or are you going to tell us to go to philosophers to learn what terms like "derivative" or "gradient" mean?

I agree with this argument.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#48  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 3:49 pm

seeker wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
seeker wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
Don't make me laugh. "Empirical research!" :roll: If you were interested in empiricism, there wouldn't be so many threads where you argue with people about the origin of the universe. :nono:

It seems that you're confusing me with another person. I've never argued with people about the origin of the universe.


Oooops! You're right. I apologise. My mistake. :thumbup:

OK. I want to clarify that I didn't want you to "go away" from the thread that I started. I think that your answers have been unnecessarily hostile, and that you were not understanding my question (which was not "how Wiki or OED define these words", but "how linguists use these words nowadays", specifically in several more complex cases). This is the reason why my question was addressed to linguists.


:thumbup:
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#49  Postby nunnington » Mar 21, 2014 4:11 pm

Another point about 'and' - bloody hell, this is addictive - is that some people consider it to be pretty much semantically empty. Thus, instead of saying 'I like beer, ice-cream, and ox-tail soup', it's OK in many dialects to say 'I like beer, ice-cream, ox-tail soup', so the 'and' didn't add very much.

You can see this also in between clauses, as we work out the meaning of the 'and' from the meaning of the clauses. Hence, it would be bizarre to interpret 'he slipped on a banana skin and broke his leg', as meaning 'and then he broke his leg', because of our real world knowledge that when people slip, they can break their leg. But this is really pragmatic knowledge, so maybe 'and' is a kind of pragmatic operator, discourse marker, or whatever term you want to use. Another obvious example is 'we had sex and she got pregnant'; compare, 'we had sex and she had her dinner'. The first indicates consequence; the second, time.

The basic function of these markers is to enhance 'discourse coherence', and there are lots of them. So some linguists consider them not to be semantic markers really, but as working to smooth the flow of conversation, or the flow of texts. As you can see, it's stunningly exciting!
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#50  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 4:15 pm

I'm listening, keep on.

I had the hardest time with "and" as a child because I talk too much, and too fast. As a child I used to just scribble down essays, the way I spoke, so "and" would appear everywhere. No one ever thought of correcting it, until I started reading my old school books. I wondered by no one ever thought to tell me to take a breath, and make new sentences, or put in commas, or semi-colons.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#51  Postby nunnington » Mar 21, 2014 4:30 pm

That's interesting, as one characteristic of children's writing, and maybe speech as well, is a chain of 'ands'. For example, 'and then we went to the beach, and then we had an ice-cream, and then dad feel asleep, and then mum took his photo, and then he was annoyed'.

This is interesting because it's not so much about the actual meanings of words, but constructing a discourse, or a spoken text, or whatever you want to call it. So this is a rather naive discourse, just a chain of events, whereas a more sophisticated discourse would bring in 'because', and 'therefore', and stuff like that; semi-colons are very sophisticated!

I don't know if anybody has researched this in kids, but it's very likely, as it's important in education, not only to acquire the meanings of words, but also the ability to construct discourse/texts. I used to teach engineers report-writing, and some students have a knack for it, and some really don't.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#52  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 4:51 pm

Yeah, it took me a long time to figure it out, and to become aware of it. I never thought of myself as a writer because, and I still tend to do that, my writing is way too informal. I still find strictly academic writing a little hard, because my mind is racing way ahead of what I'm typing. Now, though with the experience of learning English as formal training, I've become a lot better. Now I'm able to write business letters, which was almost an impossibility in the "natter, natter, and, and" stage, and I've written a whole book, still in conversational mode, but I have done all of it.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#53  Postby nunnington » Mar 21, 2014 5:07 pm

Although there is the reverse ability, which is being able to use rather naive English to write novels. The classic example is 'Catcher in the Rye', but it has been done quite a lot, I suppose Huck Finn is also a famous example.

But this is a very sophisticated thing to do. It connects with the so-called unreliable narrator, who cannot be trusted to tell the truth, e.g. 'Lolita', 'Clockwork Orange' and in films, 'Fight Club' and 'Forrest Gump'.

Oh boy, we're a long way from home.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#54  Postby hackenslash » Mar 21, 2014 5:10 pm

I'll admit to a guilty pleasure. I used to read quite a lot of fantasy, and started reading David Eddings' Belgariad quintilogy. I really like the way it starts with very naïve language that develops and becomes more mature as the younger characters age. A pretty clever device, I thought. I recognised it again in the Harry Potter books.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#55  Postby nunnington » Mar 21, 2014 5:20 pm

It is very clever, and the novelist can convey things which the child narrator is not aware of. Phew, that's pretty incredible. It's a definite genre of the novel, and I suppose there are related techniques, e.g. a narrator who is a bit batty, and also there are narrators who are jokers/tricksters, and also out and out liars. I think 'To Kill a Mockingbird' plays around with this very cleverly?
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#56  Postby Agrippina » Mar 21, 2014 6:15 pm

I have to admire people who are able to write fiction. While my writing for academic purposes is sometimes a little too casual, when I write fiction, apart from having a really hard time thinking up stories, I forget that it's all about direct speech, and write long, boring lectures.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#57  Postby surreptitious57 » Mar 21, 2014 7:18 pm

Agrippina wrote:
I have to admire people who are able to write fiction. While my writing for academic purposes is sometimes a little too
casual, when I write fiction, apart from having a really hard time thinking up stories, I forget that it is all about direct
speech, and write long, boring lectures

I also do creative writing and for me the hardest thing is coming up with an idea to start with. I can write something if I just have a title to go on but nothing at all is next to impossible. For I have no real imagination. Now I know of mind mapping but it is not my thing. I need to have it in my head because I do not do rough drafts as such. I used to send work off but only once have I ever had anything published so I am now resigned to just writing for myself. I have always loved the written word and have read ever since leaving school. And my one serious ambition was to be a journalist but I was not qualified so could not become one. But I admire those who appear to write so effortlessly and with passion and precision too. I wish I could but I know it is beyond me. And especially at my age [ I am forty nine ] But I do what I can. I do find that as i get older I read a greater variety of fiction and non fiction than ever before. I will read history and religion and physics and philosophy and politics and crime and art for example. The only criteria are that the subject matter must be interesting and it must be
well written. And so while I will never be a writer myself I can take great pleasure from reading the words of others
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#58  Postby Agrippina » Mar 22, 2014 6:05 am

Fiction is really difficult for me. I've been told that if I can write an essay, I can also write a story and that I should write what I know. I can't do that. It's possibly related to my not being able to enjoy fiction that isn't based in some or other fact. Not that I don't read fiction, I particularly love suspense fiction, related to crime, not espionage, but that's because I'm fascinated by forensics and the psychology of the criminal mind, so it's more analysis of the criminal, more than the enjoyment of the story line.

My favourite form of fiction is historical, especially if it's biographical fiction. I love that, but even then, I can't make up stories around real people. If I wrote a biopic, it would all be based on truth. :grin:

I wish I could get over this book now. I'm waiting for my editor to finish his own work for academia so he can give my book his full attention, so I keep rereading it and editing again and again, I just can't let it be. I don't want to give it to someone else to edit because the Bible, and the existence of God, is the subject of his thesis, so he really is the best qualified person to edit it, and he won't be nice because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings, he'll be harsh in his criticism, which is exactly what I want. So I have to just be patient. We're getting there. Slowly.
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#59  Postby Agrippina » Mar 22, 2014 6:06 am

Sorry seeker, we really have seemed to have derailed your thread now. Maybe a mod should move this discussion to a new thread. :thumbup:
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Re: How do linguists define and use these terms?

#60  Postby jamest » Mar 22, 2014 9:54 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:And my one serious ambition was to be a journalist but I was not qualified so could not become one. But I admire those who appear to write so effortlessly and with passion and precision too. I wish I could but I know it is beyond me. And especially at my age [ I am forty nine ] But I do what I can.

You're not old. If writing is your passion, enrol in a literary course (even on-line). You will get better.
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