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Semantics corner

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libertygrl
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Posted 06/30/11 - 11:41 AM:
Subject: Semantics corner
I'm often fascinated by the way words can come to mean different things to different people, some distinctions being perceived where others perceive none.

For example, the dictionary may consider the words "evidently" and "obviously" as synonymous, but in my mind there is a slight distinction between how I would use them, and I'm curious if I'm the only one who sees it that way. So what do you guys say? Do they mean exactly the same things to you? If not, how would you distinguish them? Let me give you two examples:

"Obviously it's too hot to go jogging."

"Evidently it's too hot to go jogging."

Also, please feel free to add any semantics questions/examples of your own.
Morgena
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Posted 06/30/11 - 12:56 PM:

Personally, I think it’s all based on someone’s mind map, how he translates what you were saying, and perhaps if he/she knows you well, or not at all. ;-)
henry quirk
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Posted 06/30/11 - 3:25 PM:

"Obviously it's too hot to go jogging."

I would say this if, in fact, it were too hot to go jogging.


"Evidently it's too hot to go jogging."

I would say this if I thought it were too hot, but witnessed some one out jogging.


In the first: there is the hint of the superior, 'what are you, stupid? it's too hot to jog, as any idiot can plainly tell!'

In the second: there's the hint of the sardonic, 'well, there goes an idiot jogging in this heat.'


Language is a slippery tool that uses and shapes the user as much as he or she uses and shapes it.

Each of us 'seasons' language in our subjective interpretation and in our objective use.

Frankly: it's amazing how well any of us communicate to any other, considering... wink
libertygrl
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Posted 06/30/11 - 4:35 PM:

Morgena wrote:
Personally, I think it’s all based on someone’s mind map, how he translates what you were saying, and perhaps if he/she knows you well, or not at all. ;-)

quirk wrote:
Frankly: it's amazing how well any of us communicate to any other, considering... wink

ha, indeed. meanwhile, when you work in a customer service profession such as i do, it's also amazing to see how much miscommunication goes on. not surprising, but still amazing in how mind-bogglingly much of it there is. and yet most people seem to get by just fine, anyway, most of the time. except for newlyweds. seems like the first 6 months of being married is the worst time for semantics problems! at least that was the case in my experience (in both my marriages).

quirk wrote:
"Obviously it's too hot to go jogging."

I would say this if, in fact, it were too hot to go jogging.


"Evidently it's too hot to go jogging."

I would say this if I thought it were too hot, but witnessed some one out jogging.


In the first: there is the hint of the superior, 'what are you, stupid? it's too hot to jog, as any idiot can plainly tell!'

In the second: there's the hint of the sardonic, 'well, there goes an idiot jogging in this heat.'

my interpretations are similar to yours. i agree that "obviously" suggests that it should be obvious to you, me, and anyone else who can plainly see the situation.

"evidently" also has a bit of a sardonic tone in my mind - i would use it to mean something like this: "oh it doesn't seem that hot outside to me, but here you are sitting on the couch eating an ice cream when you said you were going to go jogging. evidently it's too hot for jogging." so it's sort of like the evidence appears contrary to what i or someone else would have thought to be the case. here's another example, "mom said it was okay for junior to go swimming, but evidently it was not okay with dad." i think it's similar to what you're saying, henry.

"apparently" is another synonym for "obviously" that can have that similarly sardonic tone.

"oh, so your dad wasn't happy about you going swimming, huh?"

"apparently."

libertygrl
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Posted 06/30/11 - 5:21 PM:

here's another one. what does it mean to you to "romanticize"? is romanticizing always a bad thing? to me, it's not, but i learned recently that i may be in a minority of one on that question.
henry quirk
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Posted 07/01/11 - 12:52 PM:

I see the value of 'romance', but not in 'romanticizing'.

Romance is that temporary, joyful, madness one indulges in.

Romanticizing is the willful insanity of idealizing some-one or -thing.

In the first: romance fades naturally...if luck holds: the romance is replaced by love.

In the second: the insanity never fades on its own...a body has to willfully denounce the idealization.

Seeing the world 'as is' is hard enough without intentionally putting on the funhouse glasses.
libertygrl
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Posted 07/05/11 - 12:34 PM:

quirk wrote:
Romanticizing is the willful insanity of idealizing some-one or -thing.

this is the apparently common definition that i recently learned.

i had always assumed that it was something like italicizing is to italics - that to romanticize was to look at something in a romantic light, which to me is not necessarily a bad thing. my trip to europe was a very romantic experience, even though bad things happened during the trip. it's not that i want to pretend bad things didn't happen, it's simply that the good was so overwhelmingly positive that it far outweighed the bad... such that when i think back, it's overall a positive memory. to me that is a bit of romanticizing, i dunno, maybe it fits the definition of romanticizing in general, but it doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.
libertygrl
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Posted 07/05/11 - 6:57 PM:

here's one i've been using incorrectly as well: comprise

www.earlytorise.com/2008/03...ctionist-a-comprise-winner
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 07/06/11 - 6:13 AM:

cool thread libs.


I think romantics is a very interesting subject, although it may be more of a matter of broad scope than actual semantic confusion. For example:

romantic = sweet tender love that conquers all (sense and sensibility ?)
romantic = devouring passions, obsession (with life, death, and other), heroism, raging blood, otherworldly monsters, overwhelming emotion, shocking ugliness - in one of the more recent incarnations: goth (frankenstein?)

Is either wrong or the other right? I rather think they're substreams within a main stream.


comprise is an interesting word that I probably abused loads of times.



let's get political, shall we (at the risk of hijacking the thread) !


- liberal
- socialist
- communist
- nationalist
- fascist
- nihilist
- globalist (from Aurora ! any Asimov readers?)
- rebel / freedom fighter / terrorist ?
libertygrl
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Posted 07/06/11 - 9:26 AM:

smoki wrote:
let's get political, shall we (at the risk of hijacking the thread) !


- liberal
- socialist
- communist
- nationalist
- fascist
- nihilist
- globalist (from Aurora ! any Asimov readers?)
- rebel / freedom fighter / terrorist ?


ooh, good one! can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts! will be back with my own as well
libertygrl
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Posted 07/06/11 - 12:38 PM:

meanwhile, i leave you with this quote:

"Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others."
--Ambrose Bierce
libertygrl
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Posted 07/21/11 - 2:53 PM:

i don't have a good understanding of socialism. is government subsidy a form of socialism?

so far as i know, communism seeks an even distribution of wealth.

liberals are open to trying new things. conservatives want things to stay the same as much as possible.

a nationalist values the national identity most, for better or worse. (i'm guessing on that one.)

a fascist sticks ardently enforces rules which no longer serve the people.

a nihilist believes there is no objective meaning or purpose. (i think.)

a globalist? hmm, no idea.

a rebel is a person who bucks the system.

a freedom fighter lobbies for greater freedoms.

a terrorist seeks to create fear.
henry quirk
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Posted 07/21/11 - 5:55 PM:

My perspective 'here' may not (probably won't) clear the air, but...*shrug*

I think a body can go mad trying to make sense of all the philosophical/ideological/theological/political distinctions and definitions used (and abused) by folks looking to get a leg up on others.

For me: clearly, simply, it's 'I' versus 'WE'.

'I' being the discrete, ongoing, autonomous, real, individual.

'WE' being the largely fictitious superorganism 'I' is supposedly only a cell of, and which, supposedly, 'I' lives only to serve.

Any agenda promoting 'WE' over 'I' is rotten to the core (in my view...'my view' not rooted in any universal notions of 'good' or 'evil', but only in my own 'sense of self').

As a selfish (self-interested) sort: the idea I should 'serve' others simply because others want me to (or because of any imposed hierarchy), is deplorable. It is this 'service' (insisted on by way of philosophical/ideological/theological/political wranglings, head games, lies, manipulations, etc.) that lies at the heart of all the placeholders above.

Even in 'nihilist' there is the stink of 'WE'.

Maybe I’m done with language. It seems I have less and less to say as time passes. My doing away with all the placeholders above is -- for me -- part of some 'leaning out' process (tossing useless baggage overboard.)

*shrug*

All I really know: far more confusion and chaos is served up, steaming hot, when placeholders like those above are taken seriously and used. The intent (for some, I guess) is clarity...clarity, however, is rarely the result.
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