2005: "Attention Span"

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby fibonacci » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:17 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:Every time a circumstance arises for an inclusion of "that", I spens several minutes contemplating whether to omit it or not.

Contemplating whether that "that" is superfluous, or not?

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Showsni » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:53 am UTC

Keyman wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I never encounter that "the reason being is" construction, and I really don't see why anyone would use it when they could just leave the "is" out and have something grammatically correct and shorter. E.g. "Unlike most people around here, Alice goes shopping every single day, the reason being that she doesn't have a car and so can only carry one small bag of groceries per trip." It's true that you could just substitute "because" for "the reason being that", but I don't see why anyone would ever put an "is" in there, and I don't think I ever really see that done either.

Does one need the "that" here? My wife and I have this disagreement about 'that' often. She's gone so far as to pull articles from magazines, cross out the extraneous ones, and mail the article to the author/publisher/editor.

We do both agree about "where we're/you're at", though. :evil:


So your wife thinks that that "that" that that poster used was superfluous?

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Old Bruce » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:18 am UTC

Showsni wrote:
Keyman wrote:...
So your wife thinks that that "that" that that poster used was superfluous?

Scans & parses well.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:56 am UTC

John, while Jack had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had the greater effect on the teacher.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:03 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I never encounter that "the reason being is" construction, and I really don't see why anyone would use it when they could just leave the "is" out and have something grammatically correct and shorter. E.g. "Unlike most people around here, Alice goes shopping every single day, the reason being that she doesn't have a car and so can only carry one small bag of groceries per trip." It's true that you could just substitute "because" for "the reason being that", but I don't see why anyone would ever put an "is" in there, and I don't think I ever really see that done either.

I'm not familiar with that "the reason being is" construction either, it sounds rather odd to me. Perhaps it's a hypercorrection. Rather than dropping the "is" you could simply drop the "being", although I suppose there's some value in keeping the authoritative connotation of the "the reason being" idiom.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Sableagle » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:23 am UTC

tibfulv wrote:I have the same attention span problem. And I think I've been afflicted by it since I was 17, though it only became obvious as a problem when I found I couldn't finish books any more ten years ago. Went to a psychologist to get it fixed, and she told me I was so out of shape reading exhausted me. Told me to get some exercise. She didn't tell me which exercise though, so I had to do some testing. Turned out 30 minutes a day of 60-70% of maximum pulse rate for three months fixes it. Though you'll want more if you don't want to slip right back in. By the way, that will also fix suicidal urges, but don't ask how I know that, lol.

Edit: By the way, consistent exercise is better than variable. So get an exercise bike if you can.


..... and if your knees are utterly ****ed and you can't walk or cycle anywhere and your shoulder's still not right from a motorcycle crash nearly 20 years ago and prevented you doing much of an upper-body workout even before your elbows started falling apart so now you can't use a hand-powered tricycle or take the weight off your knees with walking poles and hill-walking, hiking, backpacking, rock-climbing, orienteering, badminton, fencing, jiu jitsu, canoeing, skiing and everything else you used to do are all off the table now ... ?

I don't think I stopped reading when I got out of shape. I think I stopped reading when I got really sick of the shite schools made us read and the other shite people told me to read. Two people got me Titus Groan for the same occasion one year. I read two thirds of that. What a waste of precious time that was. Someone got me The Selfish Gene once too. I read the preface all about how "This Book is the most awesome thing you have ever read. This Book is far superior to everything else ever written. Having read this Book, you shall have a completely different outlook on every aspect of your entire world and a profoundly greater understanding of all sciences, particularly those on which this Book focuses." Then I put it behind some other books on the shelf and never touched it again. I'd have done better to read old engineering textbooks or an owner-operator's manual for a diesel-electric submarine or something.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:28 am UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I never encounter that "the reason being is" construction, and I really don't see why anyone would use it when they could just leave the "is" out and have something grammatically correct and shorter. E.g. "Unlike most people around here, Alice goes shopping every single day, the reason being that she doesn't have a car and so can only carry one small bag of groceries per trip." It's true that you could just substitute "because" for "the reason being that", but I don't see why anyone would ever put an "is" in there, and I don't think I ever really see that done either.

I'm not familiar with that "the reason being is" construction either, it sounds rather odd to me. Perhaps it's a hypercorrection. Rather than dropping the "is" you could simply drop the "being", although I suppose there's some value in keeping the authoritative connotation of the "the reason being" idiom.

Yes, it's definitely something like a hypercorrection - that's what I was getting at with my "trying to sound formal and educated" comment. I don't think it's strictly a hypercorrection, in that the attempted formality is in using the phrase at all, not the superfluous "is".

That you haven't come across it in NSW is a useful additional data point. Perhaps it really is just a UK thing.

ETA: It's a thing Stateside too, apparently.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:33 pm UTC

Ignoring all the thickest reference books, because they're large-format so proportionally thinner, a quick look at my other library has a couple of notably brick-like tomes.
Uplift (David Brin) - 56mm/126mm = 0.44…
Executive Orders (Tom Clancy) - 54mm/110mm = 0.49(09…)

Actually, there's a third. For reasons best known to my past self, I have a near identical edition of Executive Orders.
Spoiler:
It has the same ISBN, it has the same 'story pages', as near as I my check of start and end and random points between go. It even has largely the same publishing 'plate', including "This paperback edition 1998", but presumed edition-related numbers changed ("1 2" instead of "3 5 7 9 8 6 4", whatever those precisely indicate) and the "Printed and bound in Great Britain by" line is "Clays Ltd, St Ives plc" not the other's "Caledonian International Book Manufacturing Ltd, Glasgow". There's a subtly different mix of Also By This Author blurbs and covershots approaching and upon the inside of the rear cover. The only difference on the back cover is that the bar-code for the above has RRP info of UK £7.99, AUS $16.95, but this other one is just UK £8.99 so the obvious conclusion is that I went it a bookshop on two differnt occasions and thought to myself "I haven't read that one yet!". Maybe I was actually right both times! Or maybe neither - I know I definitely borrowed Debt Of Honour from the library, and can't imagine I didn't then try to read the direct sequel. Unless it was not yet published.


Whether it's because of a different grade of paper, because it's more handled (it is notably more thumbed and less pristine) or it has just happened to absorb more passive humidity during its short life, the thickness is ~75mm (or 80mm if you follow the curve, while still pinching it together), to a factor of 0.68(18…), or maybe up to 0.72…!)

colonel_hack wrote:Nobody's said ``novels only'' yet so
Handbook of chemistry & Physics (CRC) 29th edition (1945) 73mm x 123mm x 170mm, .59 times thick as it is wide.

I have a Chemistry text book that doesn't feature a Periodic Table, at the other place. It doesn't quite predate Mendeleev, and it does have a more tabular listing of elements (with missing info and erroneous entries!), but it seems this school-text was written before the proper uptake of Dmitri's presentational style. It's not that thick a book, though. Probably not enough chemistry existed to pad it out further. ;)

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Keyman » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:37 pm UTC

Showsni wrote:
Keyman wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I never encounter that "the reason being is" construction, and I really don't see why anyone would use it when they could just leave the "is" out and have something grammatically correct and shorter. E.g. "Unlike most people around here, Alice goes shopping every single day, the reason being that she doesn't have a car and so can only carry one small bag of groceries per trip." It's true that you could just substitute "because" for "the reason being that", but I don't see why anyone would ever put an "is" in there, and I don't think I ever really see that done either.

Does one need the "that" here? My wife and I have this disagreement about 'that' often. She's gone so far as to pull articles from magazines, cross out the extraneous ones, and mail the article to the author/publisher/editor.

We do both agree about "where we're/you're at", though. :evil:


So your wife thinks that that "that" that that poster used was superfluous?

Yep. That.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Raidri » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:43 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:
Showsni wrote:
Keyman wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I never encounter that "the reason being is" construction, and I really don't see why anyone would use it when they could just leave the "is" out and have something grammatically correct and shorter. E.g. "Unlike most people around here, Alice goes shopping every single day, the reason being that she doesn't have a car and so can only carry one small bag of groceries per trip." It's true that you could just substitute "because" for "the reason being that", but I don't see why anyone would ever put an "is" in there, and I don't think I ever really see that done either.

Does one need the "that" here? My wife and I have this disagreement about 'that' often. She's gone so far as to pull articles from magazines, cross out the extraneous ones, and mail the article to the author/publisher/editor.

We do both agree about "where we're/you're at", though. :evil:


So your wife thinks that that "that" that that poster used was superfluous?

Yep. That.

That's what she said!

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Archgeek » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:12 pm UTC

Heheh, the lingual bent this has taken renders me curious... what's the take on compound contractions, like "couldn't've", "wouldn't've" (if you've ever heard someone in the states say -- or worse, write -- "couldn't of", the compound contraction is closer to what they're actually going for), or "'twasn't"?
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby ucim » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:25 pm UTC

Archgeek wrote:what's the take on compound contractions, like "couldn't've"...
To me they are as legitimate as any other contraction. And like any other word (do they count as one "word"?), they gain or lose currency through usage, and the (dis)approval of school marms (see "ain't"). In print, using such a contraction would make a point of casualness. Through use single contractions have gained more currency, so though the same is true for them, it's true to a much lesser extent.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:46 pm UTC

I wont¹ complain.

But I'm just a passenger on this ship, more likely in the f'o'csle than at the wheel.


¹ Or "won't", but I was always advised that, as that isn't a proper contraction of "will not", it cannot be anything other than a separate word, or at best an irregular one so that its phantom apostrophe is unnecessary.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Keyman » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:19 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:I wont¹ complain.

But I'm just a passenger on this ship, more likely in the f'o'csle than at the wheel.


¹ Or "won't", but I was always advised that, as that isn't a proper contraction of "will not", it cannot be anything other than a separate word, or at best an irregular one so that its phantom apostrophe is unnecessary.

I suspect you are wont to complain. And we won't want that.

To go farther down the rabbit hole... An old boss of mine would often say "What you might could do is..."
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby HES » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:30 pm UTC

No issue with compound contractions. I do have issue with overzealous spellcheckers that fail to recognise non-contracted "cant" as a perfectly valid word - and I'm sure that's not the only one.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:34 pm UTC

HES wrote:No issue with compound contractions. I do have issue with overzealous spellcheckers that fail to recognise non-contracted "cant" as a perfectly valid word - and I'm sure that's not the only one.

It's obviously an obscure part of language they don't understand!

(Hah, I just did what Keyman did to me. Must be catching!)

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:40 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:To go farther down the rabbit hole... An old boss of mine would often say "What you might could do is..."

That's a Texan construction, called a "double modal", and it sounds really weird to my ear, but I really have no reason to complain because I'd gladly use "could maybe" instead of "might could" in the same context, and I don't know why mine should be seen as any better.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby hetas » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:36 pm UTC

Comments on this forum have gotten too long lately. I often skip the longer ones.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:03 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Keyman wrote:To go farther down the rabbit hole... An old boss of mine would often say "What you might could do is..."

That's a Texan construction, called a "double modal", and it sounds really weird to my ear, but I really have no reason to complain because I'd gladly use "could maybe" instead of "might could" in the same context, and I don't know why mine should be seen as any better.

For some reason, modals seem to lack a first-class infinitive. In many cases, it makes sense, because the modality makes the utterance into an act on the part of the speaker. When she says "You shall go to the ball!", the fairy godmother is willing a chain of events into being (literally, in her case), but there's no abstract idea of "shalling" that would make "to shall" meaningful. On the other hand, other modals seem to have got swept along unnecessarily: there's no real reason why "to can" shouldn't be synonymous with "to be able to", since ability to do something is objective and independent of any speaker or speech act. "Shall", though, becomes something like "have to", since although the compulsion may be objective (e.g. because of a law), only the person actually laying down that compulsion can use "shall". We have to say something like "Because of Gandalf's acts, the Balrog cannot pass", not "... shall not pass". (This nuance often leads to non-native speakers in standards groups coming out with constructions that sound wrong. As far as I'm aware, neither French nor Spanish work this way). The double modal is ungrammatical in most Englishes because the first modal needs to introduce an infinitive.

Something like that anyway.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 pm UTC

My girlfriend has told me a story about a language teacher, either French or German or Japanese since those are the languages she's studied but I don't remember which it was, who told her that a verb in that language translated into English as "to must".
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:07 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:My girlfriend has told me a story about a language teacher, either French or German or Japanese since those are the languages she's studied but I don't remember which it was, who told her that a verb in that language translated into English as "to must".

Could be German. According to The Great Wiki, modal auxiliaries in other Germanic languages are less "defective" and you can stack 'em up. IIRC, Japanese expresses obligation by saying that not doing the thing isn't ok. And it's all done with endings. French has "devoir", but that hovers between "to should" and "to must", and prefers "il faut (que)" (it is necessary (to)" when the obligation needs to be emphasized.

In Spanish, there's "soler", for which the flashcard in my Spanish class just had a question mark on the back where the English translation should have been. The teacher explained that it means "to usually".
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby heuristically_alone » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:My girlfriend has told me a story about a language teacher, either French or German or Japanese since those are the languages she's studied but I don't remember which it was, who told her that a verb in that language translated into English as "to must".


Spanish has one. "Deber"
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby ucim » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:43 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:Spanish has one. "Deber"
Yes, but it also means "to owe". So, it's not as pure as the English "to must", which doesn't exist.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby heuristically_alone » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:57 pm UTC

Can something be pure if it doesn't exist?
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:01 pm UTC

Nonexistent things are the purest things of all.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:15 pm UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:Can something be pure if it doesn't exist?

You are René Descartes and I claim my 5 francs.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:10 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
heuristically_alone wrote:Can something be pure if it doesn't exist?

You are René Descartes and I claim my 5 francs.

Are you sure he's not Plato?

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:44 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
orthogon wrote:
heuristically_alone wrote:Can something be pure if it doesn't exist?

You are René Descartes and I claim my 5 francs.

Are you sure he's not Plato?

I was thinking more Quintus Horatius Flaccus, personally, but I'd understand if Orthogon wants to try to put Descartes before the Horace.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby chridd » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:39 am UTC

HES wrote:No issue with compound contractions. I do have issue with overzealous spellcheckers that fail to recognise non-contracted "cant" as a perfectly valid word - and I'm sure that's not the only one.
Vim's spell check has a feature where it can highlight rare words in a different color from misspelled ones, which seems like it would be useful for words like "cant", but it looks like the only word marked as rare by default is uncapitalized "vim".

Archgeek wrote:(if you've ever heard someone in the states say -- or worse, write -- "couldn't of", the compound contraction is closer to what they're actually going for)
"Of" and "'ve" are homophones, so this is only an issue in writing. You can't say "couldn't of" instead of "couldn't've" any more than you can say "meet" instead of "meat".
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Archgeek » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:23 am UTC

chridd wrote:
Archgeek wrote:(if you've ever heard someone in the states say -- or worse, write -- "couldn't of", the compound contraction is closer to what they're actually going for)
"Of" and "'ve" are homophones, so this is only an issue in writing. You can't say "couldn't of" instead of "couldn't've" any more than you can say "meet" instead of "meat".

Believe it or not, I for one very much can. It's the difference 'twixt "coodn't uhv" and "coodn't'v", roughly. One clearly ends the word and starts a new one, and the other just slams a voiced labio-dental fricative onto the end of it.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Mikeski » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:59 am UTC

Archgeek wrote:
chridd wrote:
Archgeek wrote:(if you've ever heard someone in the states say -- or worse, write -- "couldn't of", the compound contraction is closer to what they're actually going for)
"Of" and "'ve" are homophones, so this is only an issue in writing. You can't say "couldn't of" instead of "couldn't've" any more than you can say "meet" instead of "meat".

Believe it or not, I for one very much can. It's the difference 'twixt "coodn't uhv" and "coodn't'v", roughly. One clearly ends the word and starts a new one, and the other just slams a voiced labio-dental fricative onto the end of it.

Or you could have a Minnesota accent, where "I'd've" gets pronounced like the female name "Ida". Then they're definitely different.

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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:17 am UTC

I'm from California and any substitution of "'d'uh" in place of "'d've" (ala "Ida") wouldn't stand out to me at all in casual speech.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:37 am UTC

I have weirdly arbitrary inabilities to be assed with my media consumption as well. I can spend all day watching Let's Plays while letting my own Steam library continue to lie dormant. To say nothing of the countless movies I still haven't gotten around to seeing, although that at least requires extra effort to request them from the library and then plan to still have free time and not have lost interest by the time I pick them up.
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby FriendOfFred » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:49 am UTC

The most dramatic example of "thicker than it is wide":

Image

Yes, that is apparently a real book, though I assumed it was a photoshop job when I first saw it. I don't know what kind of binding it has, but I'd guess it's literally impossible to read.

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Soupspoon
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:18 am UTC

Archgeek wrote:It's the difference 'twixt "coodn't uhv" and "coodn't'v", roughly.
In (some of the many) British accents, the word "of" is clearly pronounced as "ov" with a far opener vowel, or however you'd describe it, in both correct and incorrect situations. This suggests that they'd write "of" and thus say "of". Alternately, "'ve" is uniquely pronounced that way, compared with what you'd expect, but it's more believable to be the wrong thing being voiced than (in amongst the glottlestopping and other 'street slurs' of pronunciations) some counterintuitive transform of the fricative/whatever in the contraction against the tide. (It could be put on. Like "aks" for "ask". If that isn't naturally learnt incorrectly and not deliberately affected)

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orthogon
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:24 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Archgeek wrote:It's the difference 'twixt "coodn't uhv" and "coodn't'v", roughly.
In (some of the many) British accents, the word "of" is clearly pronounced as "ov" with a far opener vowel, or however you'd describe it, in both correct and incorrect situations. This suggests that they'd write "of" and thus say "of". Alternately, "'ve" is uniquely pronounced that way, compared with what you'd expect, but it's more believable to be the wrong thing being voiced than (in amongst the glottlestopping and other 'street slurs' of pronunciations) some counterintuitive transform of the fricative/whatever in the contraction against the tide. (It could be put on. Like "aks" for "ask". If that isn't naturally learnt incorrectly and not deliberately affected)

I was thinking along these lines. The "ov" pronunciation would definitely occur in south London, particularly if the word is stressed and/or utterance-final. For example:

SOUTH LONDONER #1: I never done me 'omework innit?
SOUTH LONDONER #2: Well yer should of!

I'm not sure the "aks" is an affectation. I was puzzled when I first heard "text" (as opposed to "texted") as the past tense of "text", but when I discovered "aks" (p.t. "aksed"), I decided that it's part of a systematic phenomenon. I can't fully define it, but it's something to do with re-ordering the phonemes to avoid tricky consonant clusters, and I suspect it's related to the lack of such clusters in one or more of the rich mix of languages that contribute to modern London vernacular.

(Not to imply that it's entirely migration-driven: I once had a roofer who was apparently London born-and-bred, who couldn't pronounce "joists": it came out more like "joisties". Unfortunate in that line of work, but his roofing skills were beyond reproach).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Archgeek
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Archgeek » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:34 pm UTC

FriendOfFred wrote:The most dramatic example of "thicker than it is wide":

Spoiler:
Image

Yes, that is apparently a real book, though I assumed it was a photoshop job when I first saw it. I don't know what kind of binding it has, but I'd guess it's literally impossible to read.

If I had to guess at the type of binding, I'd say...somewhere between "optimistic" and "desperate".

orthogon wrote:[...]I once had a roofer who was apparently London born-and-bred, who couldn't pronounce "joists": it came out more like "joisties".[...]

"Joisties" sounds like a school-yard game at a construction yard.
"That big tube down the side was officially called a "systems tunnel", which is aerospace contractor speak for "big tube down the side."

Mikeski
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Mikeski » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:56 am UTC

Archgeek wrote:
orthogon wrote:[...]I once had a roofer who was apparently London born-and-bred, who couldn't pronounce "joists": it came out more like "joisties".[...]

"Joisties" sounds like a school-yard game at a construction yard.

Pretty sure it's either British food (probably some combo of sausage and potatoes), or something used by really well-endowed strippers.

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Old Bruce
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Re: 2005: "Attention Span"

Postby Old Bruce » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:46 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
orthogon wrote:
heuristically_alone wrote:Can something be pure if it doesn't exist?

You are René Descartes and I claim my 5 francs.

Are you sure he's not Plato?

I was thinking more Quintus Horatius Flaccus, personally, but I'd understand if Orthogon wants to try to put Descartes before the Horace.

I award you one internets. [smiley-face emoticon]


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