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September 3, 2009
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So, Charlie, do you think that if a statistician is entering a series of measurements into an excel spreadsheet, we should not refer to each measurement as a datum? I would think that the measurement, itself, would be a datum - regardless of how we distribute it.
Please note, Charlie, that whilst I agree with your efforts to preserve this great language, I disagree with your attitude and your 'high horse'. I am not trying to portray myself as some PhD in literacy. I am simply an engineering student who happens to take pride in (what I know to be) the correct usage of my language. I made the point earlier (May 11th) that the reason I don't have flawless grammar, is that my teachers throughout school didn't (far from it). Your point would be better made in Old English, would it not? But I guess that your teachers didn't teach you Old English as a child (if you are not still one).
For the record, I know that it is incorrect grammar to begin a sentence with 'But'. I simply used poetic license to make a point.
We all have off days. Grammatical errors, once in a while, should be disregarded.
Charlie, are you implying that only 'data' should have a place in our language because we can only enter at least 8 bits into our computer with every keystroke? We can (just about) boil down every piece of information into smaller units, but that doesn't disregard the importance of each 'datum'. Merriam-Webster defines data as being "something given or admitted especially as a basis for reasoning or inference". Each datum is simply a piece of information, regardless of the memory it takes up in a computer (which, for the record, consists of a series of 1's and 0's - each being a single datum). A datum could just be one's measurement of a specific length.
Please note that if this is not what you were implying, then I apologize. Tone is often very difficult to gather when reading plain text. I wasn't sure if you were being a smart-arse or were being serious.
For the record, Charlie, what is your take on 'forums'/'fora'? Your posts seem rather ambiguous and off-topic (to say the least).
goofy, each person is only a product of their environment - the language in which they speak is the language of which they were taught. In the modern world, the English teachers at primary and secondary schools are hardly the greatest speakers of the language. Hell, in primary school I often corrected my own teacher's grammar!
It has taken a long time for the English language to evolve (or, more appropriately, de-evolve) into it's current state. It's not as though we can just stop where we are and return to speaking in 5th Century English, or Classical Latin, or whatever.
Dave Johnson, I couldn't have expressed it better myself. You make an excellent point by associating the degeneration of 'English' with the simplicity of a child's grammar and vocabulary - in a similar vein to previous posters' arguments.
It is unfortunate that the quality of language education (at least from where I grew up), is too poorly structured so as to put more emphases on literary analysis than to actually teach the language we are analyzing (social networking sites are not doing people any favors in this regard - not the only reason I steer well clear of them).
For the record, I am very much opposed to unnecessary modifications of the English language. Comedian Adam Hills made a good point when pointing out that "... 'bouncebackability' had been accepted into a highly regarded dictionary, despite the fact that there is already a word for that - resilience!". Also, on a MadTV skit it was pointed out that the word 'literally' now essentially means the opposite of it's literal meaning - as defined in Merriam-Webster:"1 : in a literal sense or manner : ACTUALLY 2 : in effect : VIRTUALLY "
The repercussions of this unnecessary mutilation of our language can already be seen by simply traveling to another English speaking country. Dialects of English are starting to arise (not just accents) - most notably the arbitrary spelling modifications in American-English from British-English (this spell-check is making my point).
I suppose it would've made a good point to have posted this in Old English, but not only do I lack the knowledge, it would make it difficult for people to understand (a good point?).
I appreciate your directness, Porsche, and I admit that I acted like a d-bag to say the least.
"Surely you haven’t forgotton your very first post, have you?"
Unfortunately, with the number of irrelevant responses I have made to (and I stand by the use of the term) trolls, I had forgotten my original posts. Thinking back, however, I agree with my original 'views', but I apologize if anyone was offended by their nature (tbph, I couldn't care less if you were offended. What difference should it make if I think you're an idiot?).
My arguably 'un/called-for' backlashes came due to a habit of mine brought upon by being constantly, unnecessarily, and unreasonably scrutinized and ridiculed by people throughout my life.
Having said all of that, aside from my original frustration-influenced post, I feel that all of my posts were of a reasonable nature, until people (namely Name (supplied)) began to just take shots at me. If anyone has a problem with the way I've acted, don't act like it was uncalled for.
I have no beef with anyone on this discussion board, aside from Name (supplied), and possibly the appropriately monikered Dave. I expect that you two would have no problems having someone you have a problem with, having a problem with you.
Let this be the end of the sarcastic maelstrom, and return to the original topic.
P.S. In regards to my name, I thank you Porsche for clarifying Dave's issue for me, but I would like to remind Dave that (as I mentioned) there is nothing wrong with lusting after a teacher. Physical attraction is as natural as methane gas. It is somewhat to blame for our existence.
Before you have another go at me, Dave, I'll point out that my internet nickname "hot4teacher" was chosen due to my liking of the song "Hot for teacher" by Van Halen, not to imply that I have sexual interests in teachers.
At no point did I state that I was correct nor that anyone else was incorrect. I simply offered my opinion - which I am now somewhat reluctant to do, considering the amount of trolls who responded only to take shots at me.
I already modestly stated my level of education in English, which leaves me confused at attempting to understand why you think I'm being condescending or righteous - which is ironic.
"Just be careful you are not just showing off some vain opinion of superiority you may be holding on to."
"As for the quality of some of the postings here from the inappropriately monikered “Hot4Teacher”; It’s poor."
For interest's sake, what was poor about my posts? Was it that you, William "Dave" Shakespeare, are the world's most educated English scholar and know for a fact that I am incorrect? Or were you so shaken up by the fact that my moniker is "hot4teacher", which you erroneously deciphered as meaning that I found teachers attractive (with which there is nothing wrong - teachers are just people too).
For someone who portrays himself as being a seemingly level and righteous person, you take a lot of offense to opinions that happen to differ from your own.
Just for kicks, whose side are you on Kevin?
Douglas, the word stamina (for endurance) is the same word as stamina (for the plural of stamen). Somewhere along the way, the English language decided that stamina would be a measure of endurance (possibly related to the function of a stamen).
As for the use of "stamens as early as 1947", I have already stated my stance as to whether the etymology of a word or common use of a word is more correct.
"You have also missed the point of my second comment, which is that Franklin lost this particular battle with progress."
I am aware that Franklin lost that battle, I commonly use the words you mentioned. It is also interesting to see that such a genius as Benjamin Franklin could be so grossly ignored. It may just be that scientifically minded people think alike, and are always being ignored by society, despite the fact that our entire mission is to find the 'truth'. Enough of venting my frustration with society, though.
Oh and for "I sense from your remarks that you misunderstand the concept of the “etymological fallacy.” ", it wouldn't be surprising if I misunderstand the concept of the etymological fallacy, as my only knowledge of it is a vague memory of hearing it in particular contexts. My English education finished in high school, and my education in grammar/punctuation/comprehension finished in year 10, and had since included such useless education as how to decompose and analyse Brave New World, Othello, etc.
"In ‘The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics,’ P. H. Matthews defines the etymological fallacy as “The notion that the ‘true’ meaning of a word is the one to be expected from its etymology.” I don’t see how this can be used as an argument on either side of this pluralization debate. No convincing case has been made here."
The true meaning of 'stamina' is 'a collective of more than one stamen', i.e. the 'true' meaning of 'stamina' is a plural, and so the etymological fallacy would describe that "the 'true' meaning of" stamina "is the one to be expected from its etymology", and, as I have just pointed out, this meaning describes a plural.
"As for “preserving” English, people wiser than we have objected to the evolution of English usage. In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote to Noah Webster complaining about the then-recent formation of verbs from the substantive words ‘notice,’ advocate’ and ‘progress.’ He urged Webster: “If you should happen to be of my opinion with respect to these innovations you will use your authority in reprobating them.” (Imagine: Ben Franklin opposing innovation!) I don’t know what Webster’s response was, but all three verbs are still with us, and the language is better for it."
It's good to see that someone is on my side. Benjamin Franklin. Enough said.
"What prompted the sarcasm to which you so strenuously object is simple; you proposed to protect a language from the very process by which it became the language that you wish to protect. It’s hard to point out the obvious without being sarcastic about it. It’s even harder when you claim to want to preserve English in it’s current state when the current state includes “forums” as a proper plural."
I've implied through earlier posts that I believe that the way the English language was used SHOULD be maintained. The fact that most people nowadays can barely speak our current language gives me little or no hope at all. I am not stupid. I know that we won't go back to speaking the original forms of the English language, but that doesn't mean that I cannot feel the need to maintain the language that many hold to be correct.
"What, so my point is irrelevant just because I used sarcasm to make it? Also, I use sarcasm quite regularly in person, and frequently to make points, so I doubt that I would hesitate just because you happen to be easily offended."
The necessity to use sarcasm to prove a point is a very popularly disliked trait in the modern world. I am almost certain that, should you see me in person, you wouldn't think to piss me off. This isn't a threat. I am merely identifying the fact that the internet holds a specious barrier for protecting you. If you talk this way in real life (as you admitted that you do) I am certain that (if at least being widely disliked) you will push someone to far, and it would be very unfortunate if that person was 200cm tall and 115kg.
Your point could have easily been made without sarcasm. There is nothing wrong with being honest. I promote honesty, and if you disagree with me then that's fine. You could have easily said "I disagree with you" rather than take the piss at me.
"I’m sorry, hot4teacher, but the exact opposite is true. The “etymological fallacy” describes the fact that words do NOT hold their original meanings. You’re certainly free to believe that they SHOULD hold onto their original meanings, but labelling that belief “etymological fallacy” would be incorrect. That’s why it’s called a fallacy. It is an agreement in etymological academic circles that such a belief is wrong."
It seems that my post had been set out poorly. What I meant was that the etymological fallacy is a fallacy regarding "the necessity for words to hold their original meanings.". I didn't mean to say that the etymological fallacy implied that words should actually keep their original meanings. At no point did I agree or disagree with it, I simply described how/why it could also apply to punctuation/pluralization.
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