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    One of my favourite things about christmas is Christmas trees
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    (Original post by Llamaaa)
    Scrooooooooooooooooooooge.

    How can the joy of getting presents wear off? I hope you aren't going to minimo's christmas party... a christmas party with someone who doesn't like christmas sounds suicide-inducing :p:
    I might do, depends on whether I'm free or not

    And I do like Christmas, just not the crap that goes with it :p:
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I don't disagree with the overall assessment of language and vocabulary, but as I said - I do think 'sport' is an instance of a widely agreed-upon term. And no it doesn't have to involve high levels of physical activity, as you pointed out.

    With regards to the observations as a whole, I think this issue of meanings and interpretations being individual is extremely exaggerated. I think we now talk about interpretation as problematic as a direct influence of the post-modernist movement. In every day life, occasionally there is confusion and somebody feels the need to define something more clearly, or to assert an individual interpretation of a word, but overall communication works pretty damn well, and has done for all of our recorded knowledge of human society. I don't dispute the truth that there are subtle differences, and personal interpretations and 'quirks' as you say, if you choose to hold a magnifying glass over much of human expression and communication, however I think this is really blown out of proportion. I think that people do manage to store up enough social knowledge to predict and employ meaning within communication with sufficient accuracy to communicate with sophisticated depth constantly!
    'these arguments about the definitions of things' are more present and immediate in our current awareness as a result of pervasive post-modern influence. Rather than attacking the movement as a whole, I'm just suggesting that some of the related focal points weren't really such an issue beforehand, and may cease to be as prominent in the future.
    Well, I think my current lecture course on semantics (and generally studying lingusitics and being that way inclined) makes me more likely to analyse the flexibility of definitions as opposed to an influence from post-modernism - in fact, the model I'm adapting this from is more Chomskyan than anything else, which isn't terribly post-modern. Anyway, yes, I definitely agree with you about it not being a problem most of the time, but when you're studying linguistics, you need to account for such things, and you notice individual differences an awful lot. I suppose the idea really originates from Saussure's langue/parole distinction, but it's more present under the current linguistic framework as internal-langauage versus external language - as linguists study internal-language, we just take individual differences for granted unless we're approaching the realms of semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. Anyway, all I'm saying is that people don't always mean the same thing when they say "sport", as we've already seen, however widespread the general meaning might be.
    (Original post by Nina)
    Neither beauty nor morality have a fixed or consensual meaning in the way that 'sport' does (arguments about the nature of 'sport' aside here).
    Yes, I see what you mean - while beauty and morality are accepted as having varied meanings, sport is not. However, it still does a bit, as we've seen.

    Anyway, to summarise: http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b5.../semantics.png
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    I think im turning into the Grinch. i cant be bothered with christmas and im soooooooo thankful my mum came up on friday and bought all my christmas presents for my family. such a relief!

    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    [COLOR="DeepSkyBlue"]

    Fantastic! You're in the perfect position to join our conversation :teeth:
    lol well it seems rather scary, but i think my personal definition of sport (as something scary that i could easily get hurt in and also something i am by nature rubbish at) is a valid definition for me because language is whatever the speaker makes of it. but on the other hand the fundamental aim of language is to communicate so it makes sense to have universal definitions, and in this you cant deny tabletennis is not a sport (even if for me personally it isnt).
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    (Original post by lavalse)
    I think im turning into the Grinch.
    I'm Supergrinch... not really actually, it just goes nicely.
    (Original post by lavalse)
    lol well it seems rather scary, but i think my personal definition of sport (as something scary that i could easily get hurt in and also something i am by nature rubbish at) is a valid definition for me because language is whatever the speaker makes of it. but on the other hand the fundamental aim of language is to communicate so it makes sense to have universal definitions, and in this you cant deny tabletennis is not a sport (even if for me personally it isnt).
    That's pretty much the standard view in linguistics today. What was your discussion about, by the way?
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    (Original post by Supergrunch)
    Well, I think my current lecture course on semantics (and generally studying lingusitics and being that way inclined) makes me more likely to analyse the flexibility of definitions as opposed to an influence from post-modernism - in fact, the model I'm adapting this from is more Chomskyan than anything else, which isn't terribly post-modern. Anyway, yes, I definitely agree with you about it not being a problem most of the time, but when you're studying linguistics, you need to account for such things, and you notice individual differences an awful lot. I suppose the idea really originates from Saussure's langue/parole distinction, but it's more present under the current linguistic framework as internal-langauage versus external language - as linguists study internal-language, we just take individual differences for granted unless we're approaching the realms of semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics. Anyway, all I'm saying is that people don't always mean the same thing when they say "sport", as we've already seen, however widespread the general meaning might be.
    Fair enough. And yeh, I knew blaming it all on post-modernism and its influences was a bit overreductionist.
    I'm going to stop splitting hairs and get on with this nightmare reading
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Fair enough. And yeh, I knew blaming it all on post-modernism and its influences was a bit overreductionist.
    I'm going to stop splitting hairs and get on with this nightmare reading
    Good idea... *returns to essay on syllables* :p:
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    This is why I stopped going into D&D. Eventually the frequency of words that I do not understand exceeds my work function ddivided by Planck's constant, and as such my argument begin to break down.
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    D&D is just one cathartic mess.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    D&D is just one cathartic mess.
    I always have to remind myself that "cathartic" doesn't mean "full of Cathars".
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    (Original post by Supergrunch)
    That's pretty much the standard view in linguistics today. What was your discussion about, by the way?
    it was about when a dialect stops becoming a dialect and is its own separate language. the other arabists and i were talking about it . its like maltese is similiar enough to modern standard arabic as other arabic dialects but it is called its own language, where as the morocan dialect is still only a dialect. equally spanish and portuguese are about as mutually intelligable as some arabic dialects are to each other, yet the former are 'separate languages' and the latter are 'dialects'.

    all very interesting. i love languages!!!!!


    mod edit: removed the bit about interviews
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    (Original post by lavalse)
    equally spanish and portuguese are about as mutually intelligable as some arabic dialects are to each other, yet the former are 'separate languages' and the latter are 'dialects'.
    Is there an actual reason for that, is it just an inconsistency in the English classification of languages?
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    It's politics, I tell you! "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy" - or something like that.
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    (Original post by Scipio90)
    Is there an actual reason for that, is it just an inconsistency in the English classification of languages?
    well our conclusion is that its a lot to do with the fact that the language that joins them together (classical arabic + modern standard arabic) is still in use today, hence they are still dialects. where as the language that joins spanish + portuguese together (latin) is no longer in any real use.

    also, in islam arabic is a holy language and some people believe the koran should only be read in arabic etc, where as christianity does not have the same thing with latin, in fact jesus spoke aramaic (i believe). hence why speakers of arabic dialects (who are often muslim) may prefer to say they speak arabic as opposed to morcoccan or algerian etc, yet spanish/portuguese speakers (being largely christian/atheist) probably wont feel the same way about latin.
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    (Original post by Scipio90)
    Is there an actual reason for that, is it just an inconsistency in the English classification of languages?
    (Original post by Zhen Lin)
    It's politics, I tell you! "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy" - or something like that.
    You beat me to that quote (Max Weinreich I believe) - basically our defintions of such things are pretty arbitrary, and depend on all sorts of different factors in each case. It is worth noting, however, that there's often roughly the same amount of dialectal variation in a single language group (at a given hierarchical level) - for instance Japanese is nearly a language group of its own, and has massive dialectal variation, whereas English very clearly isn't and has much less variation. This strikes me as more of a coincidence than anything else though, as high variation tends to come about when you have isolated pockets of language rather than a continous population all speaking the language. (if you're of an evolutionary persausion, compare with allopatric speciation versus parapatric speciation) This was true in Japan, where peasants were isolated in separate communities, and is also seen today with things like Irish - it has only been brought back in a few, separate, areas of Ireland, and so today exhibits fairly marked dialectal variation.
    (Original post by lavalse)
    well our conclusion is that its a lot to do with the fact that the language that joins them together (classical arabic + modern standard arabic) is still in use today, hence they are still dialects. where as the language that joins spanish + portuguese together (latin) is no longer in any real use.

    also, in islam arabic is a holy language and some people believe the koran should only be read in arabic etc, where as christianity does not have the same thing with latin, in fact jesus spoke aramaic (i believe). hence why speakers of arabic dialects (who are often muslim) may prefer to say they speak arabic as opposed to morcoccan or algerian etc, yet spanish/portuguese speakers (being largely christian/atheist) probably wont feel the same way about latin.
    That's definitely a plausible explanation for the case of Arabic dialects - incidentally you might find it interesting that people used to insist that Latin wasn't a "good enough" language to express the word of God in, and so the bible had to be in Greek, and then later on people said the same about Latin and English. Just in case you were wondering, it's a (pretty reasonable) assumption of modern linguistics that all languages have the same expressive power, as they can all rely on analogy to explain things indirectly, and if you take a Chomskyan view they're really all variants of the same language. Piraha is a contentious possible exception, but that's another story...
    (Original post by lavalse)
    all very interesting. i love languages!!!!!
    Same here, although I love language more than languages.
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    (Original post by lavalse)
    yes you're talking to me. Lidia who does English at Clare! lol funny when you meet people in real life and then you realise you know them on the internet. this happened to me when i arrived at boarding school i realised later that a lot of my friends i'd met previously on girland.com

    but anyway, thanks so much for the directions and tips, i definitely will head there soon!
    Yay! Nice to "meet" you again. Enjoy the falafel.
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    Stupid choir. Singing happy birthday in a ridiculously over-the-top and serious manner at formal isn't clever or funny, it's just showing off. :mad:
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    (Original post by Scipio90)
    Stupid choir. Singing happy birthday in a ridiculously over-the-top and serious manner at formal isn't clever or funny, it's just showing off. :mad:
    mine does that too....gets quite irritating after one or two times.
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    Is there a photocopier in the University Library? I'd like to copy some pages of a maths book (it's a new one, not a rare book), but I can't borrow it since I'm a first year ...
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    Yup - in the Reading Room (or whatever it's called...) You need to buy a photocopy card though, and I can't remember where you get one of those. SOrry!
 
 
 
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