"They will be very impacting"

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Killjoy, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Blindfolded with a blancmange

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    Impacting sounds OK to me, but other words might be slightly better. Influential? Significant?
    Is it possible that people are being hypercritical?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    This is indeed the Linguistics subforum, so it falls within our scope to discuss issues such as fluency, which covers many factors including:
    • The elements of syntax.
    • The ability, in real time, to choose a phrase that communicates most clearly with the listener or reader.
    Sarah Palin qualifies as "barely fluent" on both counts:
    • Her command of syntax is weak. She struggles to put words together meaningfully and ends up blathering awkwardly constructed phrases which come perilously close to violating the rules of syntax. Her apologists are only able to parry these accusations of violation by redefining her as an adorable rebellious linguistic iconoclast and redefining her mangled phraseology as a cute sort of 21st-century Spoonerism.
    • Her communication is only minimally clear. She expresses her thoughts at a rudimentary level with none of subtlety or nuance one expects from a post-WWII political leader. There is no depth in her communication, which displays more emotion than reason.
    As I noted earlier, she speaks like a foreigner who learned English as an adult and hasn't been here long enough to overcome her problems. Since English is one of the world's most important languages in politics, commerce, scholarship and culture, one doesn't have to turn the TV dial very far at any time of the day or night to encounter a foreigner speaking English much better than Palin. Her only salvation is her native-anglophone accent. If she spoke with a foreign accent, on top of the garble, no one would take her seriously.
    Technically correct is only partially correct. It's easy to construct a sentence that is technically correct, but fails to convey its intended meaning.

    In formal writing there are myriad rules--entire books full of them--regarding style and the avoidance of clumsiness, ambiguity and sheer miscommunication. In vernacular speech the same role is played by custom. If you don't talk in more-or-less the same way as your audience, what you say is, at the very least, likely to come across as clumsy or ambiguous or, at worst, not express what you intended. I.e.: miscommunication.

    Political leaders cannot afford to miscommunicate.
     
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  5. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Number 1.0 disagrees!

    (Too obscure?)
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Too obscure for me. But since I'm the one who injected the phrase "technically correct," I get to decide what it means.

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    It means that it would pass an automated grammar checker, and people might understand you, but they'll think you're either a non-native speaker or a moron.
     
  8. John99 Banned Banned

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    Nasor, the right thing to do is admit when we make a mistake. Certain people here may back track but the truth is it is just as acceptable as any of the other examples i cited.
     
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    The only way to always choose the best word available, is to use a thesaurus.
    You can't do that while you're talking.

    Also, sometimes there isn't a word that means exactly what you want to say.
    In such circumstances, Shakespeare used to make them up. Why shouldn't Palin?
     
  10. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah but if Palin had half a clue or close to it, she would have realised the awkward syntax and followed up with something more intelligible to quantify the statement.
    She doesn't. she is clueless.
     
  11. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    She'll know how to push a big red button, once the Tea Party vote her in.

    Palin:
    "Watchout Russkies. Here's some Hockey Mom missiles. Headin' ' right fer yer!"

    Tea party: Yay!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You don't have to choose the absolute best word in the universe when you're talking. That's one of the many differences between speech and writing: the word will only be heard once. And that's the reason important speeches that will be recorded are written, or at least edited, by professional writers.

    But in speech you should use the best word you can think of in real time. We can all think faster than we can talk, so that's not a problem. We have lots of time to review what we're going to say and improve it. Of course this is what defines a good speaker: someone who can think faster, has a larger vocabulary, and can choose his words with more skill.

    And this is why Palin is an absolutely abominable speaker! She can't think fast and she has a poor vocabulary.
    That happens all the time. So you use two words. No big deal. When you're writing you try to be more eloquent, so that's when you reach for the thesaurus if it's really important.
    • 1. Because Shakespeare was a genius. He coined words and idioms that were rather easy to understand because they were logical references, and in any case were clever, interesting, intriguing, humorous, etc., and people were willing to work to understand them. Palin's IQ appears to be in the 90s. None of her coinages are the least bit clever. They reek of frustration, like a child or an immigrant whose vocabulary isn't big enough to pull up a word that's even close to what she's trying to say, so she settles for something clumsy and imprecise.
    • 2. Because Shakespeare was writing plays that people would hear multiple times. Plays (good ones anyway) are deep and you always get more out of them the second time, including the language. Excerpts from Palin's speeches may be repeated once on TV news ("The News For People Who Can't Read") and twice on cable news ("The News for People Who Find Network TV News Too Challenging").
    • 3. Because Shakespeare's genius was recognized. His plays have become icons of English literature. People study his language and appreciate the richness of his coinages. My wife took a graduate-level class on Shakespeare. No one will remember Palin's words in ten years; in fact educated Americans will do our best to forget them. And hope that the Brits extend us the courtesy of doing the same thing, rather than holding her up as the stereotypical, inarticulate American buffoon who abuses their language. Which is exactly what she is.
     
  13. Killjoy Propelling The Farce!! Valued Senior Member

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    The situaion in question hardly seems to be one for which no terms existed with which to make a coherent reply. All she had to do was come up with They'll have a big impact to avoid sounding like an android with a paper clip jammed in its positronic brain - or an ex-beauty pageant contestant .

    They will be very impacting.

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  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    That's no way to talk about the next US President.
     
  15. stateofmind seeker of lies Valued Senior Member

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    or a maverick.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Only because she (aided by her handlers in the 2008 election) has carefully crafted the image of an iconoclast. If a stranger walked up to you and talked that way, you would assume he was a moron, if he didn't have a foreign accent.

    As I said, she's trying to pass her linguistic ineptitude off as something cute and clever.

    She's playing on the concept of Spoonerisms. Oxford professor William Spooner (1844-1930) was identified as a new kind of "absentminded professor," one who absentmindedly mixed up the phonemes in his speech. Entire books are filled with amusing quotes attributed to him, including:
    • Three cheers for the queer old dean. (For "dear old Queen.")
    • The Lord is a shoving leopard. (For "loving shepherd.")
    • You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle. (For "lighting a fire.")
    • Please sew me to another sheet. (For "show . . . . seat.")
    • You've hissed all my mystery lectures and tasted the whole worm. (For "missed . . . . history" and "wasted . . . . term.")
    Most attributed Spoonerisms have to be apocryphal since no one person could have said all the things he is credited with. Spooner himself acknowledged only one Spoonerism in his life: "The kinkering congs their titles take," for "conquering kings," and this one actually sounds like an honest mistake rather than something unintentionally clever!

    But Spoonerism has become an art. Cunning stunts, bass-ackwards, don't pet the sweaty things, and the masterpiece "I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy."

    Spooner's alleged speech handicap has become a form of humor, and people are admired for devising clever new Spoonerisms. Palin would like to capitalize on this phonomenon of unintentional errors being regarded as cute.

    But her errors are not unintentional. Her limited vocabulary and slow thought process prevent her from finding the right word for a sentence, so she intentionally compensates by throwing together some bits of awkward grammar. And worst of all, the results do not come across as either clever or humorous. Just plain stupid.

    And don't forget the Spoonerism, in a tribute to Gilda Radner's Roseanne Roseannadanna character, on "Saturday Night Live" in 2008: "What's this I hear about a vice-presidential candidate parasailin'? They should be busy campaigning, not out having fun on the water!"
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    That folksy accent Palin has.
    Is that an affectation, or do all people in Alaska speak like that?
     

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