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This column from the Chicago Tribune seems a bit counterintuitive. It reports the finding of a research study that shows that anger, though not blind rage, actually can be beneficial in making judgments and decisions. Apparently it helps you to weigh the arguments carefully.

Who'd have thunk it?
 
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that shows that anger, though not blind rage, actually can be beneficial in making judgments and decisions.

I would agree with that. There are times when reasonableness just doesn't work and one need to show a bit of anger.


Richard English
 
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Not Polonius!
 
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Interesting article.

quote:
About 6,000 sounds make up the languages spoken around the globe, but not every language uses every sound. For example, while the Swedish language distinguishes among 16 vowel sounds, English uses 8 vowel sounds, and Japanese uses just 5.


Just 8? It's more like between 14 and 20.
 
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There you go Kalleh. You can finally hear what a schwa is.

(It's the one in "cinema")


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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14 and 20

I count more like 12 vowels and 8 diphthongs, but who's counting. Wink I'm also suspicious of the number 6,000 and sounds is rather imprecise. But, overall, and interesting article.

You can finally hear what a schwa is.

That's funny. I've personally heard Kalleh use schwas. Shu, too. Matter of fact, everybody on this board whom I've met in real-life uses them.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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A diphthong is a vowel phoneme. Smile

Also Japanese long vowels are usually treated as separate phonemes, which makes 10.
 
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A diphthong is a vowel phoneme.

Okeydokey. If we consider sounds to be phonetic, the number goes way up. What about voiceless vowels in Japanese? I suppose they're just allophones? ("'Allo?" "Who's on the phone?" "I dunno, who's on third?")


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by zmježd:
You can finally hear what a schwa is.

That's funny. I've personally heard Kalleh use schwas. Shu, too. Matter of fact, everybody on this board whom I've met in real-life uses them.


Of course you have. It is, after all, the most common vowel sound in English. It's just that it's only yesterday that there was a post from Kalleh saying that in spite of our having discussed it numerous times she still wasn't sure what it is.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Of course you have. It is, after all, the most common vowel sound in English. It's just that it's only yesterday that there was a post from Kalleh saying that in spite of our having discussed it numerous times she still wasn't sure what it is.

Yes, Bob, I know. I was just having a bit of fun at Kalleh's expense.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I was just explaining my reasoning. I know there's different ways of analyzing English vowels.
 
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I was just explaining my reasoning. I know there's different ways of analyzing English vowels.

I agree with you, goofy. I find your analysis better. I was just changing my opinion.


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There you go Kalleh. You can finally hear what a schwa is.

(It's the one in "cinema")

I just need to pay a little more attention, that's all. In looking up "schwa," the dictionary says,
quote:
the mid-central, neutral vowel sound typically occurring in unstressed syllables in English, however spelled, as the sound of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, u in circus.
Does that sound clear to you? Not to me. Some of those vowels sound similar, but not all of them. Are they all supposed to sound the same? Or is that not the point?

This is probably one of those concepts that I need to talk about in person. Too bad I didn't ask z when I recently saw him!
 
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Does that sound clear to you? Not to me. Some of those vowels sound similar, but not all of them. Are they all supposed to sound the same? Or is that not the point?

They all sound the same to me: schwa.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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"^" ... "^" ... "^" ... "^" sounds like a vowel movement to me ..... Eek
 
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They all sound the same to me: schwa.


I've pretty much settled on 'uh' as my upside-down-e-less representation.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Does that sound clear to you? Not to me. Some of those vowels sound similar, but not all of them. Are they all supposed to sound the same? Or is that not the point?


They may not be the same for all speakers. I suppose some people might have /I/ in "easily". Or you might just think the vowels sound different because of the spelling.
 
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I do say the "i" differently in "easily; I also say the "e" differently in "system." Are they very different? No. So I suppose I halfway get it, but now wholeway.
 
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Have you tried the sound samples on that link?


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
Have you tried the sound samples on that link?


The two schwas in "away" and "cinema" sound the same to me.
 
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I listened, and I agree, goofy. Those 2 sound identical.

As you know, I am somewhat a literalist. Is that first "a" in "away" a schwa? According to the definition it is a "midcentral" sound and yet the "a" in "away" is a beginning sound. Also, the dictionary describes it as a "neutral" sound. What exactly does that mean? Do all schwas sound alike (like the "e" in "cinema?"). Or do they sound differently, but neutral?

It probably is a good thing I haven't formally studied linguistics or I'd drive my professors to drink! Wink
 
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"midcentral" refers to the tongue position, not the position of the vowel in the word. "neutral" is a bit vague, but I assume it means short, unstressed, possibly mid central.

I don't know if all schwas sound the same. There might be some differences, depending on the surrounding sounds - that is, pulling the tongue up or down, changing the quality of the vowel.
 
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a "midcentral" sound

Vowels are traditonally categorized by a number of articulatory features: height and backness. The usual chart of vowels one sees in a linguistics context correlates backness with the X axis and height with the Y axis. (Scroll in the Wikipedia article on vowels linked to above to see a picture, and you'll see a schwa near the center of the diagram.)

changing the quality of the vowel

That's right, goofy. All vowels tend to be colored by the consonants which proceed and follow them. If you look at a spectrogram of words containing schwas, I'm sure you'll see minor changes in the onset and offset of the schwa sound. But phonemically, a schwas a schwa, in English at least.

[Addendum: I have become a great fan of Google Books. As with other useful, online sources (viz. Wikipedia), it's come in for some shrill—and to my mind—uninformed bashing. Here's an interesting couple of books: Alexander Melville Bell's Visible Speech and George Philip Krapp's The Pronunciation of Standard English in America (1919).]

This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Thanks for those links, z. I think I might be finally getting it!

You can see how careful lexicographers have to be so that they don't create confusion with their readers. I'd have never guessed "midcentral" meant the position of the tongue, and not the vowel. I imagine I'm not the only person who has made that mistake when reading that particular definition.
 
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I imagine I'm not the only person who has made that mistake when reading that particular definition.

All professions have their specific vocabularies which seem impenetrable to outsiders (and are usually interpreted as obfuscatory jargon), but once one is in the know they are pretty straightforward. It's hard for me to think of anything other than tongue position when I read the term midcentral. now, South Central is a whole 'nother thing.


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Then there's South Park on Comedy Central ...


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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South Park on Comedy Central

There was a trendy, high-tech neighborhood in San Francisco (aka Babyloin by the Bay) back during the InterWeb Bubble daze.


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Excellent, tinman. I have sent the links to my daughter, an attorney. From the first article, I found this quote especially informative as to why judges shouldn't be put in the role of research critic; they just don't have the expertise to be research peer reviewers:
quote:
Researchers, by contrast, generally evaluate all apparently relevant data, then "weigh the evidence" supporting or challenging some alleged risk, notes science-policy analyst Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Scientists would consider how the studies were designed, their size, whom or what they studied, and how closely their features match the plaintiff's situation to determine how important findings are in resolving a question, he notes.
In one of the letters following that article, someone commented that in British law the judge chooses the expert withnesses. Is that true? It might be an answer.

In the other article, I found this quote also relevant as to why judges shouldn't be put in the position of deciding which research is "good" and which is "bad:"
quote:
The courts' general assumption that litigation science is inherently weaker or more biased than most research prompted by other interests reflects how little the judicial system understands science, says John C. Bailar, a biostatistician and scholar in residence at the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C. At the SKAPP meeting and in a recent paper published in the European Journal of Oncology, he offers a laundry list of how researchers from the ostensibly "good" nonlitigation camp can and have defrauded colleagues and the public.
and
quote:
Researchers—or their critics—can "disguise biases" in other ways, say toxicologist Ronald L. Melnick and his colleagues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. For instance, researchers may expose animals in a nontypical way, such as by inhaling a carcinogen rather than eating it, so that the kidneys and livers don't receive the full toxic whammy. Yet kidney and liver cancers might have been the diseases showing up in exposed workers, Melnick and colleagues point out in a January paper in EHP.
That's why we need peer reviewers, who are completely objective. Then, as that article says, is anyone completely objective?

How many times have we seen this, perhaps even on this board:
quote:
If people like the findings of a particular study—perhaps one showing that the risk of climate change has been greatly overstated—they tend to cite it frequently and accept its conclusions, Freudenburg explains. However, where results challenge what society hopes to be true—such as a study finding that global warming will likely be 10 times worse than previously anticipated—critics tend to pounce on the data, scrutinizing its every detail.


I hadn't heard of that Daubert case, but it sounds like in the end it favors big companies over the little guy who is injured...which I never like.
 
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Supercool, and Strange
Scientists are finding clues about why water is so utterly weird

Benjamin Franklin Plays Sudoku
Founding father entertained himself devising beautiful mathematical puzzles
 
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Did you elf yourself with the OfficeMax virus? It seems that 123 million elves were made before they took it off the market. Roll Eyes
 
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This short article about how the parties split words was printed in the Tribune today, though the online version deleted a major part of the report, for some reason. The online article didn't show the specifics below, which define the terms:

Freedom - key words of freedom, free, tax and taxes (83 Republicans; 12 Democrats).

Equality - key words of poor, poverty, jobs, wages, workers, health care. (62 Democrats; 17 Republicans)

Order - key words of crime, criminals, marriage, abortion, immigration, border. (97 Republicans; 0 Democrats). I am quite skeptical of this finding!

Generally, look at the number of times the Democrats used key words, versus the Republicans. All I can surmise is that this research looked at more Republican speeches that Democratic ones. It certainly doesn't make sense that the Democrats never spoke of crime or immigration or abortion or marriage. I am skeptical of this report and would like more details.
 
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This is a fun editorial in the Tribune about Chicago's recent fickle weather.

It seems recently one of their editorials had whined about about our spell of unseasonably warm winter weather. That tirade began by "The weather gods are going to get us for saying so..." And it did. The Tribune says, "The Tribune regrets the error." Wink
 
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Fat people, smokers cheaper to treat than long-living healthy people, study says
quote:
Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money, researchers reported Monday.
 
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From your article, Tinman:
quote:
"This is the beginning of the end unless we do something," Krauss said. "Alaska Native languages are the intellectual heritage of this part of the world. It is unique to us and if we lose them we lose what is unique to Alaska."
I wonder if they will do anything about it.
 
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I'm not sure what they can do, besides document the languages. I don't like the idea of making people speak languages they don't want to speak.
 
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An age when grammar meant something

This piece in the National Post suggests that high school students in the 1920s were better writers and clearer thinkers than students of today, but offers absolutely no evidence.
 
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I remember being told about a wise old philosophy professor at the University of Saskatchewan who, in his day, led his students, through the Socratic method, to identify the single discipline--grammar -- that prevented all the lights of Classical learning from being extinguished during the Dark Ages.

Grammar saves civilization! In your FACE, Arabic translations of Greek manuscripts!

Apparently, knowing the logic and structure of grammar isn't enough prevent one from falling for urban legends and just-so stories.
 
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Wayne Eyre, MA, Saskatoon ...

... one wonders if the writing of students who were subjected to such training was generally superior to that of students now leaving high school. I suspect that those graduating in the era of A High School English Grammar may have been clearer thinkers than the grammar-deficient matriculates of 2007.


Comment ... If it was their clear thinking that led society to its present state, Mr. Eyre might want to re-think his position
 
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I wonder if anybody has done a study of these would-be Cassandras of grammatico-cultural doom and the severe Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis people like the General Semantics folks (e.g., Korzybski, Hayakawa, or Chase), or the E-Prime or Neuro-Linguistic Programming types. It seems perfectly obvious to me that grammar (standard or non-standard) has little to do with rhetoric and logic (or speaking, writing, and reasoning well). I think George Orwell may also be to blame with his creation of Newspeak in Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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I've never come across E-prime before. What an odd and, it seems to me, singularly useless concept. Any prejudice expressibly using "be" is just as expressible in other terms. The whole concept of it is (or maybe that should say "seems") fundamentally flawed in ways that should be obvious to the most blinkered adherent.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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E-prime

For skiffy fans, there's AE van Vogt's signally strange books The World of Null-A and The Players of Null-A.


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The book mentioned in the article Kalleh linked to is the fourth edition of A high school English grammar, published in 1925. Here's the 1922 edition.
 
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The book mentioned in the article Kalleh mentioned is the fourth edition of A high school English grammar[/i], published in 1925[/i]

I believe the article was one mentioned by goofy.


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Yeah, it was me mentioned that article. That actually looks like a pretty cool book. I like the illustration on page 3, it needs more of those.
 
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Sorry, goofy. I don't know why I said Kalleh.
 
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One of the "benefits" of E-prime seems to be that it tends to eliminate the passive voice.

As I have said many times, whereas the passive voice can be used inappropriately (as can many kinds of construction) this possibility does not mean that the passive voice is inherently bad. There are times when ideas positively shriek for expression in the passive.

I have the impression that the use of the passive is more commonly frowned on by US-English prescriptivists than it is by their UK-English counterparts. Indeed, my Word grammar-checker has an option (which I have disabled) to catch passive sentences. It does not, however, have a similar option to catch sentences expressed in the active voice!


Richard English
 
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