Quote of the Day: Read rules first and have fun.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Fraggle Rocker, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Rules: This thread is for entertainment and scholarship, but from a linguistic perspective. Bring something you've read or heard that's interesting or amusing because of the use (or misuse) of the language. Concise definitions, unintentional double-entendres, that sort of thing.

    If it's a joke, it should be more than just a great joke; you can post that in Free Thoughts. Explain a joke unless it's really obvious. (Remember, not everybody who will read it is an anglophone.) Perhaps a good rule of thumb for jokes about language is: if you did post it in Free Thoughts nobody would understand why you thought it was funny.

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    And please, no Bushisms! Yes they're hilarious, but so hilarious that we've got a whole separate thread for them.

    Here's my starter.

    This was in the weekly announcement from Angie's List, a U.S. organization that keeps a wiki-sort of directory of tradesmen and -women in major metropolitan areas. This week's feature is how to find a good electrician.
    Uh... wait a minute there Angie. If you know exactly what you're doing, then YOU'RE NOT FOOLING AROUND!

    A linguist's joke.

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
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  3. George Costanza Registered Member

    on a different matter from long ago...

    back in '02, you wrote this about the 4-day workweek:
    "I published a paper on this topic last year. Here is an extremely condensed abstract, re-edited and de-footnoted for a less academic press." (orig. link:

    Might you still have a copy of that academic article? I wish to share it with some folks interested in the US moving toward a steady-state economy.



    Note from F.R.: I'm taking this exchange offline to preserve anonymity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2008
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Like the idea of quote of the day, and this is the right place for it, but I think that the rules of the thread are deterring posts. If you heard a really good quotation, you might not be able to justify posting it.
    It is a linguistics thread and you need to tie it into use of language somehow, but it needs a rethink.
    On Word of the day, you brought in etymology, which has worked well.

    The qualification "amusing because of the misuse of language" is too delimiting. I could think of something if I thought really hard.
    It needs to be a quote where you comment on the use of language,
    without deterring non language graduates.

    Oh, and if you do post a link to the article that George wanted, post it here.
    2002? Whatever you said must have influenced the chap.
    I don't venture much into the political sections, too much grief, but I'd like to see it too.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
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  7. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    I'll definitely be posting some examples and I love the idea. When I read the this thread last night I thought I would have something I could offer but pretty much drew a blank. It's not that I haven't heard some brilliant clangers, I just couldn't recall them.

    I'll cetainly be keeping my ears peeled though.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Good suggestions, thanks. "Use of language" rather than "misuse of language." I'll change the rules or maybe just start a new thread.
    Sorry, I have to be diligent about my anonymity. If any of my clients or prospective clients read some of my exercises of free speech it might influence their decision to hire me. I'm still deciding how to deal with George's request.
    It wasn't written from a political perspective, it was about management. But overtones of sociology couldn't be avoided.
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Here's some quotations to be going on with.
    courtesy of Friedrich Nietzche, Adolf Hitler's philosphical hero.
    (If you are not familiar with German names, pronounce it Kneechuh)


    A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

    At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.

    Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.

    In heaven all the interesting people are missing.

    In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

    It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!

    Man is the cruelest animal.

    No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

    One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.

    Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

    The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.

    The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

    The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.

    The overman...Who has organized the chaos of his passions, given style to his character, and become creative. Aware of life's terrors, he affirms life without resentment.

    The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.

    To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.

    To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.

    What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do…?

    When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.

    When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.

    You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.

    There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness. "On Reading and Writing"

    For anyone who might be influenced by this intoxicating stuff.
    Don't. You may end up invading Poland.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    . . . and spell it "Nietzsche."

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    (Sorry, the other Moderators ganged up on me and made me promise to stop proofreading posts and correcting typographical errors, even though the only feedback I've ever gotten on it was a thank-you. They would rather I highlight the error and bring it to the attention of all the other readers by correcting it in a subsequent post.)

    Hitler was seriously delusional if he did not see himself as the target of many of these:
    I don't think the Soviets were very big on Nietzsche, but it didn't help them. Or Poland. :

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  11. Myles Registered Senior Member

    Leibniz/ Leibnitz signed his nameboth ways before what is now regarded as the correct version
  12. original sine Registered Senior Member

    Pepsi-Cola had a slogan for their carbonated soft drink "Diet Pepsi" that was widely advertised:

    Think young.
    Drink young.

    Seems to me that if you really thought about it, you'd realize that this beverage has little nutritional value, has a stimulant drug (caffeine), and is proven to be a contributor to bone decalcification. If you really thought about these things, you probably wouldn't drink it. I'm just waiting for an alcoholic beverage to be paired with that same slogan!

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  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Sure, but that's just a reflection of the ambiguity of German spelling before they reformed it about 125 years ago. Both spellings would be phonetically read correctly since German Z is pronounced as TS. The T in TZ is silent. This is one of the more confusing conventions in the modern spelling rules. Z is a single consonant and TZ is a double consonant, so the choice depends on the pronunciation of the preceding vowel. If it's short it has to be followed by a double consonant; schmutz and schmuz would be pronounced differently.

    Of course that's not true if the vowel is an I. Niz and nitz are pronounced identically; if you want a long I you have to spell it nietz.

    Which brings us to Nietzche, which is not an allowable sequence of letters in German. There is no phoneme which is transcribed TZCH or even ZCH. I can only imagine this if it were the German phonetic transcription of a Russian name, Neets-kha. But they tend to borrow the English transliteration system for Russian names, so they would probably write that Nitzkha to make it undeniably clear that it's a foreign name and let German readers stumble over the misspelled long vowel.

    Leibnitz/Leibniz is a manifestation of the unnormalized spelling practices of the 17th century. He may have been trying out both ways to figure out which one he liked best, so he could contribute to the cause of spelling reform.

    Nietzsche has no alternate spelling. I Googled it and there are no hits. Wait until tomorrow, and they'll probably hit your post on SciForums.

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  14. Myles Registered Senior Member

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    ausserordentlich = extraordinary
    die Hochgescwindigkeit = high speed
    die Elektronen = electrons
    entwicklend = developing
    das Schwerarbeit = heavy work
    der/die/das Beigollitron = duh? If I didn't know better I'd say this was a phonetic transcription of the English phrase "by golly" concatenated with the suffix -tron to make it look like the name of a high tech machine.

    Extraordinarily high-speed electron generation, "hard work by golly" -tron.


    I can't believe it. I'm right! German scientists have a sense of humor!
  16. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    It's advertising.

    Tastes vile
    Rots your Teeth

    Just wouldn't work.
    (actually it does taste ok with whisky in it)
  17. Myles Registered Senior Member


    By the way, I still do not know what a gollitron is, not that I lose much sleep over it. I read it as " at/by gollitron. that is the gollitron is part of the apparatus which I believe was some sort of particle accelerator.

    At the risk of going off thread can I say that I was told during a stay in Duesseldorf that Krueohnenseltenstrueoelcher was a variety of strawberry.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  18. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Karl Popper 1902-1994

    “We all remember how many religious wars were fought for a religion of love and gentleness;
    how many bodies were burned alive with the genuinely kind intention of saving souls from the eternal fire of hell”

    “Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.”

    “No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”

    “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell.”

    “It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood.”

    “Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths”

    “Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one,
    take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory
    nor the problem which it was intended to solve”

    Popper thought that we could never know anything for certain.
    We could make theories about things, but they were only true in so far as that they
    had not yet been disproved.
  19. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    Aw Jesus, I know this is in no way what FR was looking for but it is original.

    Talking with my mate today, chatting about the tennis..Him " isn't Anna a Grand slam virgin?"..Me " Yes but presumably she won't remain unseeded for long."

    Sorry Fraggle, I'll lift my game.
  20. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    "Especially for the ginger-headed folk who have loads of freakles..."

    Apologies to Reiku for quoting without his consent but it tickled my fancy.
  21. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Re quotations thread.

    It seems a natural winner for Linguistics, if the right format can be found.
    How about this. Pick a person. Take a number of quotes. And then make a short personal comment on some/all of them.

    The comment should do one of the following:
    Make a joke.
    Say why you agree with the quotation, or provide the opposite point of view.
    Explain what the person meant.
    Give an example of the truth or untruth of the statement.

    Or something roughly similar, the quotations themselves should be the linguistic heroes as good use of language. I don't think we have to justify having quotations here.

    Featured Person
    Jean-Paul Sartre
    French Philosopher 1905-1980


    Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
    Shows his Frenchness. Always have to be doing something purposeful
    3 o'clock in England s a perfect time for a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit.

    Hell is other people.
    Could have had sciforums in mind. Whatever you say, someone will disagree.

    Words are loaded pistols.
    or rotten bananas. Depends on who is using them.

    If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company.
    Personally, I am never bored. Is loneliness the same as boredom?

    Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world,
    he is responsible for everything he does.

    Sartre thought that humans were free, but denied being so.
    They were terrified by their freedom, and wanted to accept appointed roles instead.

    I hate victims who respect their executioners.
    Seems a bit harsh!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  22. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    I like it.
    I'll have a crack tomorrow.( bit knackered, awf ta baird)
  23. Myles Registered Senior Member


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