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Episode 87 - You Gonna Read This or No?


Justin_Case001

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Hey.  Y'know what really grinds my gears?  When someone asks a question with two possible outcomes, a positive or negative state, and they say "or no", when they really mean, "or not".  Here's what I talkin' about:

"You gonna finish those fries or no?"

"I'm going to the grocery store.  You need anything or no?"

"I'm ordering pizza.  You want some or no?"

"Do you like Chinese food or no?"

You get the idea.  The correct word is NOT.  OR NOT.  You gonna finish those fries or NOT?  Do you like Chinese food or NOT?  Did you take out the garbage today or NOT?  Have you seen Avatar: The Last Airbender or NOT?  I HATE when people substitute no for not.  I have no idea why, but to my ear this is a recent phenomenon.  I never noticed people doing this when I was a kid or a teenager.  In fact, I don't think I remember hearing this up until about 5-6 years ago.  Now it's completely pervasive.  I never hear anything else.  Not one single person uses the word "not" in this context anymore.  Why the sudden change to this incorrect phrasing?

Now, contrary to what it seems, I'm actually not a grammar nazi.  I'm all for slang.  In fact, I have a habit of purposely mispronouncing and mutilating words to be funny.  Gravatar: The Rast Hairblender.  Stuff like that.  I don't expect or want people to speak the king's English all the time.  I don't want to feel like I'm living in Downton Abbey.  What annoys me is simply when something like this becomes so ubiquitous and widespread that it seems like no one even knows that's wrong, or what the correct phrase even is anymore.  It's like there was some secret meeting that I wasn't invited to where the whole world decided to permanently change the phrase.  Drives me nuts.  :Cozy:

And that, ponies, is what grinds my gears.  Do you agree with me or no?  Does stuff like this annoy you or no?  You wanna let me know about it in the comments or no?  :derp:

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First, I prefer the term "grammar national socialist."

I like to compare grammar to computer programming. Technically, you should say "Do you X or not X?" Is it implied that X follows the NOT?

"Do you like chocolate or not?" means "Do you like chocolate or not like chocolate?" But consider "Do you like chocolate or not like strawberry?" That statement is valid. It is a conjunction of (X or not Y), rather than the (X or not), which means (X or not X). If I hate strawberry then that statement is true, regardless of how I feel about chocolate.

This means that if someones asks "Do you like chocolate or not?" I can still say "or not what?"

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On 2021-11-19 at 9:14 PM, Thankful Brony 42 said:

Is it implied that X follows the NOT?

Yes. 

Unlike programming languages, a lot of stuff in human languages is taken from context. Think of it as "compression". There is no point in saying something if everyone can understand the sentence without it. The exception is legal documents (contracts, laws) - since people would be very interested in finding alternate meanings in such documents, the language used has to have only one possible meaning. Would you like to everyone speak as if they were writing a contract? 

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2 minutes ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:
38 minutes ago, Pentium100 said:

Would you like to everyone speak as if they were writing a contract? 

Yes.

I wouldn't. Contracts are difficult to read and understand, but at least I do not have to to that very often. It would really suck if everyday speech was like that - not only difficult to understand, but tedious and time consuming as well.

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On 2021-11-20 at 1:17 PM, Pentium100 said:

Would you like to everyone speak as if they were writing a contract? 

 

On 2021-11-20 at 1:53 PM, Thankful Brony 42 said:

Yes.

:laugh:  You knew he was gonna say yes!  You knew it!  Boy, did you walk into that one!  ROFL!  :ButtercupLaugh:

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2 minutes ago, Justin_Case001 said:

:laugh:  You knew he was gonna say yes!  You knew it!  Boy, did you walk into that one!  ROFL!  :ButtercupLaugh:

At least he (MLP Forums user whose username was "Thankful Brony 42" on 2021 11 16) admitted to having the desire that humans (and other sentient beings capable of communication - henceforth known as "sentient entities") should communicate using methods that only have one meaning to others (with the possible exception to sentient entities diagnosed with mental defects).

 

Nah, I'd rather use normal speech and explain if there's confusion.

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Oh boy, grammar time! Ok, @Pentium100 fair enough. I do suppose that certain things can safely be assumed. I mentioned computer programming because I dabble in VBA and (I'm sure other languages do this too) you can call some functions without a root object and the nearest parent is assumed. But I like to make it explicit for clarity and to avoid the possibility that the scope changes during execution. That can happen.

But there are times when the language is confusing when it doesn't have to be. For example, today is Friday. If I say "next Saturday" then that means tomorrow. But for some reason people think that it means 8 days from now.

Or the fact that people say an alarm went "off" when it is clearly on.

I like to put parentheses in my sentences and treat them like the distributive property. For example: 

A: I do not drink and drive

Should be:

B: I do not (drink and drive).

Does "not" apply to "drink" only, or "drive" as well? How do I know?

Or perhaps:

C: I (do not drink) and drive.

A person who drinks indeed drinks sometimes, even if not when driving. So they could correctly say, "I drink and drive" because they mean: "I drink. I drive. But not at the same time."

Edited by Thankful Brony 42
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2 hours ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

For example, today is Friday. If I say "next Saturday" then that means tomorrow. But for some reason people think that it means 8 days from now.

"Next Saturday" (at least how it works in my native language) is the one a week later. Tomorrow is "this Saturday", basically the Saturday in the future that is closes is "this" and the one after that is "next". 

I can program too. The difference is that the computer is stupid and can only follow instructions exactly (it does what I say, not what I want). People can infer meaning from context. By the way, as far as I know, Japanese language uses a lot of context, for example pronouns are infrequently used if they can be inferred from context.

 

2 hours ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

Or the fact that people say an alarm went "off" when it is clearly on.

To "go off" means "explode" or "make a loud sound",or "go bad" (applies to food). https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/go off

The alarm can go off, so can a bomb or a gun.

OTOH, learning these (English is not my native language) in school was not very fun. 

2 hours ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

Does "not" apply to "drink" only, or "drive" as well? How do I know?

Well, let's try:

1. I do not (drink and drive).

Means the person does not drive while drinking or does not drive after drinking.

2. I do (not drink) and drive.

Means the person does not drink while driving.

So, both version mean the same

 

By the way, in math and computer programming, parentheses show what should be evaluated first. In normal text, they pretty much show the opposite - part of text which is non-essential and can be skipped. For example - taken from Wikipedia article about vacuum tubes: 

Quote

Many early radio sets had a third battery called the "C battery" (unrelated to the present-day C cell, for which the letter denotes its size and shape). The C battery's positive terminal was connected to the cathode of the tubes (or "ground" in most circuits) and whose negative terminal supplied this bias voltage to the grids of the tubes.

The parts in parentheses are explanations, but the sentences make sense without them. 

Quote

Many early radio sets had a third battery called the "C battery". The C battery's positive terminal was connected to the cathode of the tubes and whose negative terminal supplied this bias voltage to the grids of the tubes.

Still makes sense, but the author decided to include an explanation that the "C battery" is not related to the C battery size and that the C battery may be connected to the "ground", not just directly to the cathode or that in most circuits the cathodes are connected to ground anyway.

2 hours ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

I like to put parentheses in my sentences and treat them like the distributive property.

So, how do you pronounce them when talking?

2 hours ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

So they could correctly say, "I drink and drive" because they mean: "I drink. I drive. But not at the same time."

Yes, and that is the basis of some jokes etc. I can also say "I drink and drive", meaning I drink something non-alcoholic and drive. However, "everybody knows" what the common meaning of the phrase "drink and drive" is - driving while drunk.

The main difference between normal language and computer programming is that you have to be absolutely exact with a computer. Every semicolon has to be in its place or the computer won't understand the code. However, when talking with people, if the other person did not understand something, he can just ask you to clarify. This basically works like error correction in data transfers, with the added bonus of compression. 

"I don't drink and drive" could be expanded to "I do not drive while under the influence of alcohol" or "I do not drive while my blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit", but the first one is much easier to say and people understand you just as well. Similar can be said about "I don't drink" - technically it's "I do not drink alcohol", but since drinking (not alcohol) is essential for living, everybody understands the first version just fine. I guess an alien who does not need to drink any liquid would have to be explicit and say "I do not drink anything" or "I do not drink any liquid - alcoholic or not", but since you are far more likely to encounter humans (who need to drink liquids), the short version can be used and not lead to confusion.

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3 hours ago, Pentium100 said:

basically the Saturday in the future that is closes is "this" and the one after that is "next"

So if we were in a car and you said, "Stop at the next rest stop." Then I drive past it, and you say, "Why didn't you stop?" I say, "Because that was this stop. The next one is the next stop."

No, next means the one immediately following. Even if you group it by week, some countries start a week on Monday, some on Sunday. And if it was Saturday, and I said "this Monday," that would mean 6 days ago.

An alarm does not go off, it goes on. If something is flashing and making noise then it sure sounds on to me! If there is a light that is illuminated, you would say "that light is on." Then I tell you that light is an alarm. So then you say, "Oh, well then that light is off." That makes no sense. The alarm went off so I turned it off and now it is off.

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21 minutes ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

So if we were in a car and you said, "Stop at the next rest stop." Then I drive past it, and you say, "Why didn't you stop?" I say, "Because that was this stop. The next one is the next stop."

And yet, with days it's different. Maybe it's because you can go to the previous stop, but you cannot go to the previous day, which means that "this Sunday" is the one closest to us (in the future). Unless the context shows that the person is talking about the past "I went fishing this Tuesday". 

21 minutes ago, Thankful Brony 42 said:

If something is flashing and making noise then it sure sounds on to me!

"Breaking news! Terrorists have placed a bomb in an airport and it went on, killing 20 people".
"In other news, a guy was attempting to clean his gun, but neglected to unload it, the gun went on, thankfully, nobody was killed".

Apparently, the dictionary disagrees with you. 

 

The problem is that you are trying to analyze a language as if it was a computer code or something. This does not work. Human languages evolved over many years, nobody set out to create "the English language" or "the Lithuanian language", then spent some time creating all the words, grammar, syntax. After that, went on teaching people how to speak. Languages evolved slowly and organically. That's why there are lots of exceptions to every rule and why some combination of words means something different than the words mean separately. 

"After a power failure, my alarm turned on and then went off in the middle of the night." 

Though I guess you could always learn Lojban and only communicate using it, though you won't find many Lojban-speakers.

Edited by Pentium100
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All of this, just for messing up using "no" instead of "not" :ButtercupLaugh:

 

I like U.S. English just because it has more meaning than one (for short expressions). It makes it easier to come up with excuses.

I am always messing up the word "fun" and "funny" in the wrong contexts, but it is kind of okay.

But skipping one letter, saying "no" instead of "not" is just lazy. And it is the laziness that can get you annoyed.

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If language evolved, then wouldn't it be a good idea to try to evolve it in a logical direction? To say "a gun went on" is no less sensical than to say "a gun went off." Certainly it makes more sense to say that an alarm is on rather than off. "The alarm went off, so it is currently on. But I turned it off after it went off."

If "this" means the next one, then "next" should also mean the next one. Tomorrow is the next Saturday I will see. And during the day, "this Saturday" means that current day. Maybe "this" means the current object we are in. So on December 31, 2021, I can say "this January" and I mean January 2021, because it is this year's January. Checkmate. :pistachio:

Furthermore, if language is evolving, then "are you gonna eat that or no?" can be accepted. I think that is just an excuse for poor grammar.

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