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Posted: 23 September 2015 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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OP Tipping - 23 September 2015 04:55 PM

Hello, D_rive, and welcome to the forum.

Thanks, OP.

It can be fun to muse on ways that English can be improved or simplified, but it really does not mean anything to say that a very well established English word is not “correct”.

On a separate issue: I think it is a good idea to give threads titles that reflect their contents. This makes them easier to find later. In this case, for instance, I would give this thread the title “etymology of argumentative” or “argumentative is not a correct word” or something like that.

Yes, I didn’t mean to say it wasn’t “correct”; just that it didn’t seem right, to me.

I started the thread in the Test section just to get started. I did expect a Mod would move it. :)

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Posted: 23 September 2015 09:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I’ll rise to that fly…

It could be argued that “correct” is a value judgement and by it’s very nature open to interpretation. It could also be argued that declaring a word incorrect is a good way to open a discussion about how language works, if one cares to do that sort of thing.

I completely disagree that it’s a value judgement. The word itself means what it means. That’s like saying a thing is “more unique” than another. That’s nonsense.

I used to work in a lab that made artificial heart valves from the heart valves of pigs. Naturally, one of the areas that gets inspected many times in the process is where the cusps meet and seal together, which is known as a “zone of coaptation.” Coe-app-tay-shon.

However, the factory jargon for this area was simply “coaption.” “Check your coaption before you go any further.” It was odd, because we all knew the “correct” word - it was on a label we all filled out several times a day - but we all said it as “coaption.”

Language comes from the people you talk with, eh?

Unfortunately, that’s true. That’s what bothers me most.

I myself have a bad habit of sometimes saying “Adaption” instead of “Adaptation”. I recognise that as a brief hiccup in the brain-to-tongue connection. I certainly wouldn’t try to suggest it as normal usage.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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But if a lot of people like it, it soon will be, so get out there and spread the word.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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But if a lot of people like it, it soon will be, so get out there and spread the word.

Well, it is a perfectly workable word. :)

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Posted: 24 September 2015 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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The word itself means what it means.

Words do not have intrinsic meaning. They mean what people use them to mean.

That’s like saying a thing is “more unique” than another. That’s nonsense.

Case in point. Unique has developed a second sense of “uncommon, unusual, remarkable,” a sense that is commonly used with modifiers. So more unique is not nonsense. It’s perfectly intelligible, and virtually all English speakers will understand a person who uses it. The appropriate usage tag on this sense isn’t “incorrect,” it’s “informal.” It’s a widely used sense, but one that is best avoided in formal writing.

Unique was borrowed into English in the early seventeenth century, but remained a very uncommon word until the nineteenth. The extended sense of “uncommon, unusual, remarkable” developed in the eighteenth. So, not only has that second sense been around for a long time, it’s been around since before the use of the word in any sense was widespread. To say that unique cannot be modified and that it cannot mean “uncommon, unusual” is nonsense.

I myself have a bad habit of sometimes saying “Adaption” instead of “Adaptation”. I recognise that as a brief hiccup in the brain-to-tongue connection. I certainly wouldn’t try to suggest it as normal usage.

Both adaption and adaptation have been around for centuries. Adaptation predates the shorter form by a decade or so; close enough that we can’t really say which came first. It’s not clear whether adaption was formed by shortening adaptation or if it formed by adding -tion to the verb stem. In this case, adaption has declined sharply in use, and adaptation is now clearly the preferred term, although it would be a stretch to say that adaption was “wrong.”

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Posted: 24 September 2015 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I completely disagree that it’s a value judgement. The word itself means what it means. That’s like saying a thing is “more unique” than another. That’s nonsense.

I’m afraid you’ve missed my point. Of course the word means what it means, the value judgement comes into play when one is deciding which things fit the word and which things don’t. I would submit that if the word isn’t applied judiciously, then it loses all meaning. In other words, if “correct” isn’t a value judgement, it’s nothing.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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D_Rive - 23 September 2015 09:02 PM

The word itself means what it means

That’s a bit of an oversimplification.  The word means what the people who use it mean it to mean.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Dave Wilton - 24 September 2015 04:14 AM

The word itself means what it means.

Words do not have intrinsic meaning. They mean what people use them to mean.

Accelerationally speaking, several didactic multipliers do not patronisingly enhance the anomalous capabilities of infamous frenetic genetics to be figuratively diplomatic. Do they? Well, do they? ;)

To say that unique cannot be modified and that it cannot mean “uncommon, unusual” is nonsense.

Taking that to the next step, why not really disintegrate the language and change the meaning of “uncommon and unusual”? Let’s say the word “unique” can be used to mean “uncommon” or “unusual”. Then, let’s say the words “uncommon” and “unusual” can be used to mean “disgusting” and “queer”. Then let’s say the words “disgusting” and “queer” can be used to mean, “disappointing” and “foreign”. 

Why not just let “unique”, “common”, and “unusual” mean what their derivation suggests they mean.

[ Edited: 24 September 2015 02:45 PM by D_Rive ]
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Posted: 24 September 2015 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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happydog - 24 September 2015 06:08 AM


I’m afraid you’ve missed my point. Of course the word means what it means, the value judgement comes into play when one is deciding which things fit the word and which things don’t. I would submit that if the word isn’t applied judiciously, then it loses all meaning. In other words, if “correct” isn’t a value judgement, it’s nothing.

When you look at a piece of white paper, you don’t say you’re looking at a piece of black paper. White means what it means, and so does black. Deciding to use the word “white” when describing a piece of white paper is not a “value judgement”. It’s merely accurate perception.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Faldage - 24 September 2015 01:42 PM

.

That’s a bit of an oversimplification.  The word means what the people who use it mean it to mean.

Triumvirate? Well, that’s a felicitation in the ordinary! Do you coalesce it? I’ve never dissipated that feral harbour bays are chronic, really. They’re more like contaminants than what the vicar said in his peach.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Deciding to use the word “white” when describing a piece of white paper is not a “value judgement”. It’s merely accurate perception.

If I have a gallon can of white paint and I put one drop of black paint into it, is it still white? What if I didn’t know it had black paint in it? Is it white because I perceive it as white? What if I keep adding drops of black paint into it one drop at a time, at exactly what point does white become grey and how do you decide where that is? Let’s say it’s grey as soon as you start to notice that it’s not as white as when started out. In other words, you make a judgement call based on your personal perceptions.

How do you know if your perception is accurate?  White Is Grey and Grey is White

“Correct” (like “white") is a label that tells us how you feel about something, it’s not intrinsic to the thing itself.

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Posted: 24 September 2015 10:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Two perspectives on ‘mean’. Words mean what the user intends them to mean, or words mean what the recipient (hearer/reader) interprets them to mean. Words are no use in communication if there is no consensus between user and recipient. For some words, there is an undisputed consensus (at least within a language community): for others the consensus is weaker and misunderstandings arise.

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Posted: 25 September 2015 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Accelerationally speaking, several didactic multipliers do not patronisingly enhance the anomalous capabilities of infamous frenetic genetics to be figuratively diplomatic.

Now you’re being silly. The meaning isn’t what any one person decides; it’s what the relevant circle of speakers use the word to mean. In the case of unique, no one misunderstands what someone means when they say “more unique.” (That’s really important. Pedants often ignore the context in making their linguistic pronouncements.)

When you look at a piece of white paper, you don’t say you’re looking at a piece of black paper. White means what it means, and so does black. Deciding to use the word “white” when describing a piece of white paper is not a “value judgement”. It’s merely accurate perception.

I don’t want to get into a debate about what color the dress is, but you’re confusing two different things, color perception and the labels we apply to things.

There is nothing in the phonetic combination / waIt / that intrinsically refers to a particular color. If I use the word in the combination of white Russian, it could have two (and maybe more) meanings, neither of which refers to color. I would either be referring to a political group in early twentieth century Eastern Europe or to the Dude’s favorite drink. Which meaning I meant would have to be sussed out from the context. And if were in a different group of speakers, one that speaks Spanish, I would use the phonetic combination of / blaŋko̞ / to refer to the color, but a similar combination among English speakers, / blaŋk /, means something different, “empty, vacant.”

Since words do not have intrinsic meaning, then semantics is merely convention, and conventions can change and vary as people wish them to. Usage determines meaning, not some magical property contained within the phonetic combination.

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Posted: 25 September 2015 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I don’t want to get into a debate about what color the dress is,

I don’t either, I just want to say that the fact that people *do* argue about the color of the dress points out that something like “color” which would seem to be an innate property of the dress itself, is really a decision process that happens inside of brains. Just like which things deserve the label of “correct” is a decision process, and not part of anything else.

Some parts of the electromagnetic spectrum react with human anatomy to produce the experience of vision. Blue only exists as an experience. It doesn’t exist independently of the vision process. It is not innate to the electromagnetic spectrum itself. It is part of objective reality only in the sense that brains are part of objective reality. If the color of something existed independently of brains, you’d be forced to say that radio waves have a color… you just can’t see it. Which is a 2nd year philosophy question and we all know how little people care about philosophy.

As magicians have understood for centuries, seeing is believing and believing is seeing. Understanding which parts of the world are you and which parts are not you isn’t always as simple as it seems.

However, it seems abundantly clear to me that which things are correct and which things are not is a part of the world that I decide for myself. The correctness of a thing lives in me, not the thing.

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Posted: 25 September 2015 02:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Now you’re being silly.

Of course.  As with all peevers, in default of rational arguments there’s only silliness to fall back on.

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