Page 1 of 3

1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:31 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Image

Title Text: "if that's too easy, you could try joining Tautology Club, which meets on the date of the Tautology Club meeting."


So does it meet every 8 months or every 18 months?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:44 am UTC
by owneroperator
Every 1.5 years, not every 18 months.
So, depending on when the first meeting was it could be any date.
I'm going with July the 2nd though.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:48 am UTC
by rhomboidal
The first rule of Linguistics Club is: you talk relentlessly and obsessively about Linguistics Club.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:13 am UTC
by higgs-boson
And the first rule of the Tautology Club is the Tautology Club's first rule.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:17 am UTC
by faubiguy
I think sesquihebdomadal meetings would occur at a more useful frequency. A year and a half is quite a long period of time between them.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:18 am UTC
by SvenV
The second rule of Linguistics Club is: You DO NOT talk of Linguistics Club with small words of just one sound part like this.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:29 am UTC
by ijuin
So, kind of the opposite of "Thing Explainer", where instead of using only the ten hundred most used words, we use the most obscure ones in the language in which the discourse takes place?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:37 am UTC
by SomeGuyNamedDavid
Eebster the Great wrote:So does it meet every 8 months or every 18 months?

Every 8 months.
_____annual = times per year.
_____ennial = years per occurrence.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:43 am UTC
by gormster
SomeGuyNamedDavid wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:So does it meet every 8 months or every 18 months?

Every 8 months.
_____annual = times per year.
_____ennial = years per occurrence.


Can I get a citation on that?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:46 am UTC
by Caffeine
SomeGuyNamedDavid wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:So does it meet every 8 months or every 18 months?

Every 8 months.
_____annual = times per year.
_____ennial = years per occurrence.


You're partly correct. Sesqui- meaning a period of 1.5 units, annual meaning year. So 1.5 years :D

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:54 am UTC
by SomeGuyNamedDavid
Caffeine wrote:You're partly correct. Sesqui- meaning a period of 1.5 units, annual meaning year. So 1.5 years :D

Yes, but not "every 1.5 years", but rather "1.5 times per year".
gormster wrote:Can I get a citation on that?

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blo ... s-biennial

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:17 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
So then biennial = semiannual?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:23 am UTC
by owneroperator

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:48 am UTC
by Squall83
So, who is right, then? SomeGuyNamedDavid or owneroperator?

When I googled I found lots of results stating it meant "once in 1.5 years or 18 months", but it seemed like they all copy-pasted from each other, so this doesn't really mean much.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:06 am UTC
by da Doctah
faubiguy wrote:I think sesquihebdomadal meetings would occur at a more useful frequency.

Approximately once every megasecond.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:13 am UTC
by speising
Squall83 wrote:So, who is right, then? SomeGuyNamedDavid or owneroperator?

When I googled I found lots of results stating it meant "once in 1.5 years or 18 months", but it seemed like they all copy-pasted from each other, so this doesn't really mean much.

That's what makes this a good shibboleth: if anyone with google access could figure it out, it would be a bit too easy.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:20 am UTC
by owneroperator
Squall83 wrote:So, who is right, then? SomeGuyNamedDavid or owneroperator?

When I googled I found lots of results stating it meant "once in 1.5 years or 18 months", but it seemed like they all copy-pasted from each other, so this doesn't really mean much.


what's great is that my name is David... so I am also some guy named David...

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:31 am UTC
by orthogon
I remember which is which by reference to the Venice Biennale, which is a massive arty festival lasting (I think) a couple of months. It's too big to happen twice a year, so I know the -e- words are "every N years".

In other words, David is right.

ETA: Ah, I've got it! Prescriptivist Linguistics Club meets 1.5 times per year ("that's what it ought to mean!"), whilst Descriptivist Linguistics Club ("but this is how ordinary speakers use it") meets every 18 months. Every three years the meetings coincide and there's a big fight.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:03 am UTC
by sfmans
orthogon wrote:I remember which is which by reference to the Venice Biennale, which is a massive arty festival lasting (I think) a couple of months. It's too big to happen twice a year, so I know the -e- words are "every N years".

In other words, David is right.

ETA: Ah, I've got it! Prescriptivist Linguistics Club meets 1.5 times per year ("that's what it ought to mean!"), whilst Descriptivist Linguistics Club ("but this is how ordinary speakers use it") meets every 18 months. Every three years the meetings coincide and there's a big fight.


Wow, please have an internet for the Venice Biennale mnemonic.

Sadly there isn't a 'sequiannual' page on Wikipedia. Imagine the editing wars on that :)

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:14 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
orthogon wrote:ETA: Ah, I've got it! Prescriptivist Linguistics Club meets 1.5 times per year ("that's what it ought to mean!"), whilst Descriptivist Linguistics Club ("but this is how ordinary speakers use it") meets every 18 months. Every three years the meetings coincide and there's a big fight.

Wouldn't a few descriptivists happen to show up at the prescriptivist meetings by accident?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:38 am UTC
by Eternal Density
I googled and the first two results were:
sesquiannual - Wiktionary
https://en.wiktionary.org › wiki › sesquia...
Adjective[edit]. sesquiannual (not comparable). occurring 1.5 times a year or every 8 months. Should not be confused ...
Sesquiannual dictionary definition | sesquiannual defined
www.yourdictionary.com › sesquiannual
Adjective. (not comparable). occurring every 1.5 years or 18 months. Origin. Latin sesqui-, one and a half + annus, year
Welp.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:42 am UTC
by orthogon
Eternal Density wrote:I googled and the first two results were:
sesquiannual - Wiktionary
https://en.wiktionary.org › wiki › sesquia...
Adjective[edit]. sesquiannual (not comparable). occurring 1.5 times a year or every 8 months. Should not be confused ...

Note, however:
wiktionary.org, in the entry for sequiannual wrote:This page was last modified on 11 November 2015, at 08:55

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:45 am UTC
by FOARP
da Doctah wrote:
faubiguy wrote:I think sesquihebdomadal meetings would occur at a more useful frequency.

Approximately once every megasecond.


10,000 PicoHertz? Or approximately 1.85 grams of hire-car?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:07 am UTC
by speising
Eternal Density wrote:I googled and the first two results were:
sesquiannual - Wiktionary
https://en.wiktionary.org › wiki › sesquia...
Adjective[edit]. sesquiannual (not comparable). occurring 1.5 times a year or every 8 months. Should not be confused ...
Sesquiannual dictionary definition | sesquiannual defined
http://www.yourdictionary.com › sesquiannual
Adjective. (not comparable). occurring every 1.5 years or 18 months. Origin. Latin sesqui-, one and a half + annus, year
Welp.


oh, how i hate this breadcrumbs... what's wrong with full URL's? the screen is wide enough.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:06 am UTC
by Diadem
Squall83 wrote:So, who is right, then? SomeGuyNamedDavid or owneroperator?

This confused me at first because both their sources make the same claim!

Then I looked closer at owneroperator's link to wiktionary. Today's edit history for 'sesquiannual' is fascinating.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:36 pm UTC
by cellocgw
If there are some end-of-world-ist members of the Sequiannual Club, then the meeting either 32 months or 6 years prior to The Event would be the preantepenultimate meeting.
Just wrote that 'cause I like the sound of the word.
(cue the "zero! No, one!" arguments)

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:04 pm UTC
by PhDFluff
Guys!

This is the first time I've come to the forum to get a comic's joke explained to me, only to find that there's NO CONSENSUS!?

What is this?

I don't know what to believe anymore

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:13 pm UTC
by jc
SomeGuyNamedDavid wrote:
gormster wrote:Can I get a citation on that?

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blo ... s-biennial


Hmmm ... That's a rather nice example, but of something very different. The writer says:

Be sure to get these words straight. If you say “biannual” when you mean “biennial,” you’ll be doubling the number of times you’ll have to do something in a given year (and quadrupling over a 2-year period). A mistake like that could really come back to bite you.


Uh; no. You'll be quadrupling the number of times you'll be doing it per year, or per month, or per decade. Anyone who can't even divide single-digit numbers correctly should not be cited as authoritative for anything involving numbers. (If you don't understand this, you should also not be commenting on questions involving single-digit numbers. ;-)

Actually, disputes like this over the "correct" meaning of obscure words misses something important: What self-appointed authorities decree about language use is not very useful, when what you usually want to know is what did some speaker/writer meant by a specific pile of words. This can't be determined by talking about what those words should mean, but rather by how the words are usually understood by most (native) speakers of the language.

In this case, if you run across a use of a word like "sesquiennial" or "sesquiannual", it's not hard to determine that most people speaking or writing in English in fact can't get them right. So, no matter what some authority may state, you can't determine what a given English utterance means by these words without further information from the source of that particular utterance.

Part of the problem is that English (like many languages that are used in more than one country) has no official organization with the legal right to define language usage. French has, l'Académie+Française, which is even (mostly;-) honored in places like Québec. But neither the UK nor the US or any other language that uses English for official purposes has such an agency that can officially decree meaning or usage.

So the really correct answer to what such obscure words mean is "whatever the writer/speaker thought they meant". In English, we can't get that from any claimed authority; we can only get what the claimed authority means by the words.

(And I just know I'm gonna get complaints about putting the above period outside the quote. So to further confuse such people, I'll put the next one inside the parens.)

(I might also add that whatever spell-checker this text box invokes suggests that I replace "sesquiannual" with "semiannual" -- and "sesquiennial" by "quintessential". Somehow, I don't think this spell-checker is very authoritative. ;-)

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:48 pm UTC
by cellocgw
PhDFluff wrote:Guys!

This is the first time I've come to the forum to get a comic's joke explained to me, only to find that there's NO CONSENSUS!?


He spelled "consensus" correctly. He must be a witch. Burn him!

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:51 pm UTC
by HES
The one I struggle with:

How often is Bi-monthly?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:13 pm UTC
by speising
HES wrote:The one I struggle with:

How often is Bi-monthly?

you mean, like in "Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con"?

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:23 pm UTC
by The Moomin
Sesqui means 1.5 times? So Sesquipedalian means 1.5 foot related?

They like to use long words, they're half a yard.

I give up on language.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:32 pm UTC
by orthogon
The Moomin wrote:Sesqui means 1.5 times? So Sesquipedalian means 1.5 foot related?

They like to use long words, they're half a yard.


That's exactly what it means, as I understand it, it's just the words, as opposed to the speaker, that are a foot and a half long.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:00 pm UTC
by SvenV
jc wrote:
SomeGuyNamedDavid wrote:
gormster wrote:Can I get a citation on that?

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blo ... s-biennial


Hmmm ... That's a rather nice example, but of something very different. The writer says:

Be sure to get these words straight. If you say “biannual” when you mean “biennial,” you’ll be doubling the number of times you’ll have to do something in a given year (and quadrupling over a 2-year period). A mistake like that could really come back to bite you.


Uh; no. You'll be quadrupling the number of times you'll be doing it per year, or per month, or per decade. Anyone who can't even divide single-digit numbers correctly should not be cited as authoritative for anything involving numbers.

He'd be correct if you were to assume the biennial task will be performed within the given (presumably first) full year. I'm guessing that was what he was intending to describe.

To be more accurate, in any single given year you will perform the biannual task either twice as many times or more than infinite times more. The second potential case is admittedly kind of an important thing to be aware of if signing a one-year contract.

Over a three year period you'll perform it either three or six times more often than the biennial task. Obviously all this is misleading if taken to describe a "per year" frequency.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:24 pm UTC
by SomeGuyNamedDavid
The big problem seems similar to the case of less/fewer or literally/figuratively, where it's such a common mistake to use annual to mean ennial, that annual has started taking over the definition of ennial, leading it to hold two contradicting definitions.
Eebster the Great wrote:So then biennial = semiannual?

Actually, biannual = semiannual. Semiannual, I suppose, is just a more explicit way to say biannual so that the "twice a year or every two years" debate doesn't come up.
HES wrote:The one I struggle with:

How often is Bi-monthly?

That one, by definition, can go either way. Twice a month or every two months.

---

The linguistics club and the mathematics club have joint meetings on a sesquisesquiannual basis, every 5⅓ months.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:32 pm UTC
by Steve the Pocket
Honestly, even "semiannual" could be interpreted as "every two years" if you're prone to overthinking and think it means "half as often as every year".

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:44 pm UTC
by scalziand
higgs-boson wrote:And the first rule of the Tautology Club is the Tautology Club's first rule.


Not quite.

The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club.

https://xkcd.com/703/

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:48 pm UTC
by alanbbent
If it's bimonthly, it happens every bi-month. (period of 2 months.)
If it's biannual, it happens every bi-annum. (period of 2 years.)
If it's semiannual, it happens every semi-annum. (half a year.)

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:01 pm UTC
by SvenV
By the way, for non-Wikipedia/Wictionary references:
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/diction ... h/biennial
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/diction ... h/biannual

While just to help confuse everyone, Merriam-Webster allows biannual to optionally be used to mean biennial:
http://i.word.com/idictionary/biannual
http://i.word.com/idictionary/biennial

I understand that language constantly changes, but it saddens me when words are redefined to become potentially useless as in the case of "literally" being updated to mean either literally or not literally. That's not something that can always be made clear through context.

Tautology Club's stance on this issue is, interestingly, functionally and literally identical to the stance of the Tautology Club.

Edit: Bimonthly is defined as meaning either twice a month or once every two months.
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/diction ... /bimonthly
http://i.word.com/idictionary/bimonthly%5B1%5D

How useful.

Re: 1602: Linguistics Club

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:41 pm UTC
by Rossegacebes
HES wrote:The one I struggle with:

How often is Bi-monthly?


Well, it depends on the parsing:

Bimonth-ly: every bimonth
Bi-monthly: twice every month

My inclination is for the second option, and using "bimestrial" for the first meaning.