FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   Log inLog in   RegisterRegister
"literally do or die" Goto page 1, 2  Next
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> Morning Improv
Previous: Postas eclectic as it gets Next: PostBatman's Greatest Boner  
Author Message
John Stephens
Regular Poster


Joined: 01 Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Location: Triangle, Virginia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:42 pm    Post subject: "literally do or die" Reply with quote

I once read a Gene Weingarten article in which he made an angry call to the dictionary publisher. The publisher said that they only report what is in current usage, much like the post must report a crime. Weingarten dug up a quote from the post archives in which a man says that he was "literally torn apart." He looked it up - sure enough: "literally" can now be used to mean "figuratively."

He also noticed that "infer" and "imply" have become pretty much interchangeable, even though they are essentially opposites.
_________________
--
http://beardedbaby.net
--
"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts, which are the leadings of GOD." - London Yearly Meeting Advices, 1964
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rip Tanion
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 12 Apr 2002
Posts: 635
Location: The Riptania Sky-Palace in da beauuuuuutiful Bronx.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally do or die" Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
He looked it up - sure enough: "literally" can now be used to mean "figuratively."
So I guess that means up is down, black is white, good is bad, etc.

Gee, and I thought it was just the decline in our Journalism Schools.

Super Tuesday is now BLOODY TUESDAY!

I'm looking foward to the Presidential Texas Death Cage Match come November.
_________________
"Park the beers, and grab the smiles. It's flight time." - LtCdr. J. Robert "Bobby" Stone, USN (R.I.P.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
gareis
Regular Poster


Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 32
Location: across the room

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Literally" is an intensifier now. "Really" is going the way of "honest".
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Fat Head
Guest





PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Al Sharpton is going to litterally, but not figurativly, eat all the other candidates.He'll start with Lieberman,because he is kosher.
Back to top
Connor Moran
Frequent Poster


Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be fair, "literally" is a pretty relative term, given that it relies on the idea that there is one "real" meaning of a phrase and a bunch of other meanings which are only metaphorical. Of course, so much of our language, even that we don't think of as figurative, is so tied up in metaphor that it is impossible to truly seperate the "literal." But that isn't going to stop me from making the funny when it comes to people overusing that word.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaka, when the walls fell.
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Eric F Myers
Understands reinventing


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
Posts: 352
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Shaka, when the walls fell.


Temba, his arms wide.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kris Lachowski
Consistant Poster


Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 192
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

efm wrote:
Greg Stephens wrote:
Shaka, when the walls fell.


Temba, his arms wide.


LOL! That's an awesome episode! I'm such a nerd that i got that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Christopher Lundgren
Frequent Poster


Joined: 04 Apr 2002
Posts: 76
Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject: Darmok and Jilad, at Tinagra. Reply with quote

"_____, his face black, his eyes red!!"

My only salvation is that I don't remember the name of the guy in question. We are so not cool, you guys.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
gareis
Regular Poster


Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 32
Location: across the room

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That "language" showcases an interesting idea which I call a mythlang. Of course, a mythlang can only evolve from a regular language. You need words with which to describe the myths. Mythlangs are some of the most improbable languages...well, not in existence, because none do. The only reason for them to start is pure snobbery, and the inefficiency would effectively prevent it from fully forming.

The bit's in my teeth; there's no stopping me now!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Rip Tanion
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 12 Apr 2002
Posts: 635
Location: The Riptania Sky-Palace in da beauuuuuutiful Bronx.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:16 pm    Post subject: Re. Darmok and Jilad, at Tinagra Reply with quote

Ah, yes. Paul Winfield gave a much better performance in that TNG episode, than he did in Wrath of Khan. I guess maybe it's because he didn't have that mind contol worm in his ear.
_________________
"Park the beers, and grab the smiles. It's flight time." - LtCdr. J. Robert "Bobby" Stone, USN (R.I.P.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting thoughts on the probability of such a language at the Darmok Dictionary.

But now I've derailed the thread- It just makes me feel like Shaka (you know, when the walls fell) when I hear that a dictionary is reporting that "literally" can be used as "figuratively." (See the usage problem note here, but note that the definition- in this dictionary, at least- doesn't equate it with "figuratively.")

Bless me, what do they teach them in these schools?

In a related note, the practice of a dictionary merely reporting the common usage of words rather than dictating it is at the heart of a lawsuit by McDonald's Corporation against Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for including the term "McJob" in a recent edition.
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
buzzard
Frequent Poster


Joined: 30 Jul 2001
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:35 pm    Post subject: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Connor:

I don't buy this ideas that all language is figurative.

I can literally pound a spike into your skull. I can't literally pound information into your skull (unless that information happens to be encoded on a spike, but then I'm not really pounding the information into your skull, just an encoding of it).

If I literally promise you a rose garden, you have reason to expect there will be flowers involved.

Literally eating something for lunch would naturally involve me consuming something as a meal. (Possibly between the hours of 11am and 2pm, but if I'm on a different schedule, perhaps all we can say is that it is the second meal of the day--unless I skip breakfast... but the difficulty defining lunch doesn't make it "relative"--if I eat something a few hours after dinner I'm definitely not eating it for lunch--and none of this changes the fact that 'eat' is in no way figurative.)

Greg:

Odd thing about that usage note is the "...from a natural tendency to use the word as a general intensive..." seems a little strange, given that, at least as they define it, it's not an intensifier, so whence comes this 'natural tendency'?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

buzzard wrote:
Odd thing about that usage note is the "...from a natural tendency to use the word as a general intensive..." seems a little strange, given that, at least as they define it, it's not an intensifier, so whence comes this 'natural tendency'?

More imprecise language, I'm afraid. Pity they're in the dictionary business, then, isn't it? Rather than "natural," perhaps they should have said "common."

As to where it came from originally, I can only guess. A natural tendancy of some people to exaggerate?
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
John Stephens
Regular Poster


Joined: 01 Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Location: Triangle, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 7:59 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
As to where it came from originally, I can only guess. A natural tendancy of some people to exaggerate?


"Literally" and "figuratively" are maleable words, especially when you look at the specialized meanings they have in literature and art. It isn't so hare to imagine a lliterary figure being literally figurative. ;P
_________________
--
http://beardedbaby.net
--
"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts, which are the leadings of GOD." - London Yearly Meeting Advices, 1964
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Connor Moran
Frequent Poster


Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

buzzard wrote:
Connor:

I don't buy this ideas that all language is figurative.


Neither do I. I'm just saying that the line between "literal" and "figurative" language is not as black and white as we'd like to think.

For one thing, the idea that there is only one "literal" meaning for any given word assumes that the meanings of words are fixed and unchanging. This is, frankly, insane.

For another, a given word (or, more commonly phrase) can have more than one level of figurative meaning.

For example [warning, example contains a word some people may not find suitable for their toddlers, but I couldn't come up with a better example]:
If I say that I'm going to "kick your ass" I could mean a number of things, and it isn't as simple as one literal meaning and one figurative. If I was saying that I am going to beat you handily in a game, we can all agree that that would be a pretty figurative usage of the word.

Now, if I was saying that I was going to beat you up, it would still be figurative (also it would be a lie, as I fight like a sea cucumber), because chances are I won't be kicking you on the hindquarters. But I think that that use of the word is more literal than the previous meaning, since the previous uses this beating up meaning as a metaphor for winning a game.

Now, suppose that I mean that I am going to be thrusting my foot at your buttocks. Again, still more literal, as the meaning of beating up is using this action as a metaphor.

Now, suppose that I mean that I plan on assaulting your donkey.....

Should we only allow people to use literally on the bottom of the "meaning pile"? I say no, because in many cases the bottom of the "meaning pile" is lost to everyone but the linguists, and sometimes not even them. Therefore, when a person uses "literally" they generally mean that their meaning is LESS figurative than another common usage. Like in the kick your ass example, somebody who is about to punch you in the face is going to "literally" kick your ass to a greater degree than that jerk who is really good at chess. Therefore, him informing you that he is going to "literally" kick your ass is somewhat useful information.

At any rate, the debate is moot. This isn't France, and there is no elite group that gets to decide what language is "right" and what is "wrong." Usage defines meaning, baby.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
John Stephens
Regular Poster


Joined: 01 Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Location: Triangle, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am literally torn apart after reading that last post!
_________________
--
http://beardedbaby.net
--
"Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts, which are the leadings of GOD." - London Yearly Meeting Advices, 1964
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Connor Moran wrote:
This is, frankly, insane.

No, just wrong.
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Connor Moran
Frequent Poster


Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:30 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Connor Moran wrote:
This is, frankly, insane.

No, just wrong.


Touche. Excessive rhetoric strikes again. If I had said that it was literally insane, you would have had full right to make fun of me.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
icepick
Regular Poster


Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 34
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm all for the evolution of language according to common usage. But when the meanings have changed to where words have the opposite meanings thats dangerous to the future of our language and literature.

As it is now, many of the older english works are becoming lost on current readers. The French for all their snootiness have achieved a way for much of their literature to remain accessible to all the new readers.

The question that we need to ask is this, will our children be able to understand a letter or diary written by their great grandparent? Will they be able to read the declaration of independence? Will they choose the "lovely poetry of NSYNC" because Walt Whitman, "Like, makes no sense dawg".

A large part of our country's culture is bound up in our literature-if we dont train our new generations to read it-we will eventually cease to be Americans.


(realizing he has went on and on like some deranged grammar nazi more conservative than Rush Limbaugh, the poster climbs down off the soap box and slinks away to watch the simpsons and eat doritos and little debbie swiss rolls in his naugahyde recliner)
_________________
"I would rather die fighting on my feet than live the rest of my life on my knees"-Emiliano Zapata
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
John|Stephens
Guest





PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Connor Moran wrote:
This is, frankly, insane.

No, just wrong.

I agree in retrospect. Cheerfully withdrawn.
Back to top
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: "literally" is relative? Reply with quote

Connor Moran wrote:
If I had said that it was literally insane, you would have had full right to make fun of me.

Not in this particular thread, I think!
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Kris Lachowski
Consistant Poster


Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 192
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Some interesting thoughts on the probability of such a language at the Darmok Dictionary.

But now I've derailed the thread- It just makes me feel like Shaka (you know, when the walls fell) when I hear that a dictionary is reporting that "literally" can be used as "figuratively." (See the usage problem note here, but note that the definition- in this dictionary, at least- doesn't equate it with "figuratively.")

Bless me, what do they teach them in these schools?

In a related note, the practice of a dictionary merely reporting the common usage of words rather than dictating it is at the heart of a lawsuit by McDonald's Corporation against Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for including the term "McJob" in a recent edition.

I'd really like to thank Greg for the extra effort he so often puts in to add links of interest, like the above three, to the thread discussions within his internet realm. This may sound like shameless sucking up, but I assure you it is not because I really have nothing to gain by sucking up to him.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Greg Stephens
Forum Founder


Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sucking up. Your check is in the mail.

One of the main resons I provide links when I post is that I like to verify what I'm writing about when I write it (to avoid looking like a total idiot). I use Google and Dictionary.com all the time and frequently turn up items of interest. The Darmok Dictionary link, for example, I found when I was fact-checking myself in order to make sure that I wrote the "Shaka" quote accurately (True Geek Confession: Turns out that I that I knew it correctly without looking it up).

My philosophy about posting on the internet is that I'm already on the internet so there's no really good excuse for not knowing anything or not verifying something one way or another. (Except for not having the time or just being lazy, which are acceptable reasons so long as you're prepared for somebody else to actually do the research and then call you on it if you're wrong.)

This also ties in with language and what's acceptable in common usage. Most people don't bother to fact-check to make sure they're using the right words and that- more than anything- is what leads to people using words in an inaccurate fashion. Sure, the English language will evolve in ways that some of us will find horrifying, but it's as much because those of us who do know better don't correct people when they make common mistakes as it is because people make those mistakes to begin with.
_________________
Good morning! That's a nice tnetennba.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Zwol.org Forum Index -> Morning Improv All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group