Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => The Coffee Corner => Topic started by: Rob C on February 15, 2013, 11:59:14 AM

Title: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 15, 2013, 11:59:14 AM
Seems to me that much confusion and ill-will arises from whatís become a sort of contemporary disease of the altered meaning of words.

As a result, I have decided to return to the (another!) golden era where words mean what they had pretty much always meant, at least within living memory.

In this new/old lexicon, and for those too young to recognize present corruption and semantic confusion Ė this is how it works.


Photographer: one who earns his living from the practice of photography.

Amateur photographer: one who enjoys the making of photographs as hobby, relaxation or self-expression.

Shamateur photographer: one who would like to earn his living from photography but lacks the courage to take the risk of putting his money and future where his pretences lie. He also likes to devalue the living of certain genres of professional photographer by doing weddings and supplying images for stock, working on the basis that it isnít the money (really?) but the imagined Ďgloryí. That it isnít the money makes the inevitable careless collateral damage the more reprehensible, especially as it is far from unrealised.

Artist
: One who earns his living from the painting of pictures.

Commercial artist: one who earns his living from the production of commissioned illustrations and drawings.

Amateur artist: one who enjoys the pleasures of putting paint on paper or canvas, and also drawing and sketching, financial reward not playing the least part in the motivation.

Painter: sometimes artist or amateur artist, but more often a person who paints buildings, bridges and other existing structures without having any responsibility for their creation.

Sculptor: one who creates three-dimensional works from solid lumps of rock; from welding things together so that they represent something other than their rude parts; one who makes decorative artistic constructs with no visible purpose other than to fill a void. This can sometimes be art, but often itís gravestones.

Musician: sometimes considered artist, I have doubts about the suitability of the appellation.  An undoubted talent, I think that it reaches beyond the more normal limits of art; I believe it to reside on a higher plane. Few images or written words have the power to reduce me to tears, but music certainly can, repeatedly. Like a certain beverage, it can reach parts that the others canít.

Artwork: a piece of work that has its basic meaning as simple illlustration in various media. A draughtsmanís drawing of a building would not be considered artwork; however complex it might inevitably be, it would remain a draughtsmanís drawing. A common, if broader word within the advertising industry to denote parts of a project that can be photographs, drawings, etc.

Art: a somewhat nebulous word often used to describe anything thatís beyond the ability of the average person to produce within the same, broadly graphic medium, usually a medium such as painting. Some forms of photography can fairly be termed art, but, more often, the word simply doesnít fit the facts. Some cars from bygone eras were certainly works of art, their designers industrial artists.

Talent: an unusual, inborn ability to perform exceptionally well within a given genre, whether one considered artistic or otherwise. Some blessed souls have this ablity across several disciplines.

Guru: no longer exclusively an Indian teacher or guide in matters spiritual, but a term commonly applied to almost anyone with the chutzpah to self-proclaim himself teacher or expert in any (or many Ė helps to broaden the sucker base) of a variety of different disciplines, but very often in the world of contemporary art. It currently carries subliminal connotations of fraud.

Curator: from simple keeper or custodian within a gallery or museum, the job appears to have grown into that of creating a new Ďartí langage offering fresh meanings and values to a variety of works that might or might not really have any intrinsic value whatsoever if seen without benefit of curatorial input. A large part of this new language consists of the putting together of ideas that would previously have been considered unrelated and even incompatible; the sprinkling of uncommon words plays a very marked rŰle in this new form of expression, possibly developing it into an art form of its own, more interesting and amusing than some of the associated art for which, essentially, it provides crutch.

Creativity: the talent for taking disparate elements and reorganizing them into a new thing that would not have otherwise existed. Examples of this can range from the work of an interior designer through that of some forms of photography, art and certainly music. Writers, film-makers; people who produce interesting product out of nothing, some engineers with great imaginations; even some curators - many have the creative element within them.

Statement: even in the world of art, it used to mean a monthly reminder sent to a client or patron to show how much the artist was still owed. Currently, it appears to be a statement of political/artistic intent, often written by the artist in an embarrassing attempt to give the impression that the statement has been written by another person. This seems to fool some of the people some of the time. Generally, itís a motivational sentiment expressed in a harmless form of written, low-key curatorial-speak.

Now I feel so much lighter of spirit. Any further misunderstandings are not upon my head.

Rob C

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Chairman Bill on February 15, 2013, 12:47:44 PM
I'd point out that very often 'talent' is shorthand for 'worked his/her arse off studying/practising to make it look that easy', rather than simply innate ability.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 15, 2013, 03:47:43 PM
Where's your definition of photographic artist ? :-)





I don't do paradox.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 15, 2013, 03:49:34 PM
I'd point out that very often 'talent' is shorthand for 'worked his/her arse off studying/practising to make it look that easy', rather than simply innate ability.



Nope, what you suggest is just practice attempting to make perfect. Looking easy has nothing to do with it.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: WalterEG on February 15, 2013, 04:48:56 PM
Bravo, sir.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: petermfiore on February 15, 2013, 04:54:09 PM
I like.

Peter
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Chairman Bill on February 15, 2013, 05:06:49 PM


Nope, what you suggest is just practice attempting to make perfect. Looking easy has nothing to do with it.

Rob C

Jimi Hendrix practised & practised. He didn't just magically get good at playing a guitar.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 16, 2013, 05:35:16 AM
Jimi Hendrix practised & practised. He didn't just magically get good at playing a guitar.



Undoubtedly, but that doesn't deny him native talent, does it?

I tried for years and couldn't get beyond strumming EADGBE, hitting all six strings every time! Why didn't practice help me? Exactly: I had no talent for it.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: kencameron on February 16, 2013, 07:47:16 AM
I am afraid that trying to restrict "photographer" to the professionals is a bit like trying to keep "doctor" for people with doctorates. Correct, but futile.

I don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living? I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.

One interesting omission from  your list: craft (or craftsman). I wonder how you would define the Craft of Photography. It might be infra dig for some. I think it a heroic aspiration and one which this forum honors in various ways.

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 16, 2013, 08:49:02 AM
Ah, the good old days!

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: RSL on February 16, 2013, 09:31:00 AM
Seems to me that much confusion and ill-will arises from whatís become a sort of contemporary disease of the altered meaning of words.

Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 16, 2013, 09:41:02 AM
I am afraid that trying to restrict "photographer" to the professionals is a bit like trying to keep "doctor" for people with doctorates. Correct, but futile.

I don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living? I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.

One interesting omission from  your list: craft (or craftsman). I wonder how you would define the Craft of Photography. It might be infra dig for some. I think it a heroic aspiration and one which this forum honors in various ways.




Hi Ken,

I didnít set out to write an encyclopedia! To be frank, craft never entered my head because it applies as basis to all the skills; itís the foundation from which people depart for that encounter with their destiny in art, housebuilding, building of roads, commerce, everything. Itís a given, as it were. Without it nothing works.

1. ďI don't get the hostility to part time professionals. What is wrong with doing more than one thing to make a living?  I don't discount the pain of having a particular livelihood displaced or threatened by changes in the labor market but I don't think you can blame it on the people who take up the new opportunities those changes provide.

2. Surely technology rather than the moral failure of individuals is the driver here.Ē

...

1. I know that Iíve posted on this Ďother jobí stuff elsewhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having two jobs if you need the money; what is wrong, however, is marketing your tiny input into a market where established rates of reward were long-established and then murdering all that hard work because of vanity and precious little else. The individual amateur is but an insect on the body professional, but when the entire world joins in the blood-letting it becomes terminal, as we have seen. So who gains from  that? The twit selling for a couple of cents on the dollar? The agencies? Neither, is the answer; even the agencies are having problems. It was ever true that paying peanuts attracts mostly monkeys. As I wrote before, a level playing field is all anyone asks. Competition isnít a worry; cut-throat pricing is.


2. I think Iíve indicated whatís amiss with the concept: itís the same argument as blaming guns rather than their irresponsible users.

Rob C


Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rocco Penny on February 16, 2013, 10:17:33 AM
hmmm
big stuff going on- you don't know what to do sometimes,
Here in California, on the fringes of several large population centers we've had people providing more and more for less and less.
Believe it.
Same wages for 25 years.
$25 an hour or so.
$10 bucks more for a really good hand.
There are dispatching agencies that provide good hands on a per diem.
$25 an hour, 5 guys, go like heck, 14G turns to 9G
All profit for a contractor.
Been going down steadily since it is pretty easy to watch tv and get the idea you could run your own job and hire out the labor from the parking lot of the local lumber yard.
It is hard to compete in a market that rewards results not rhetoric.
So more and more men watch me run my game and think they can compete.
There's no competition in my market.
Competitors are shut out.
Because my clients and I have worked out a relationship based on trust and longstanding traditions.
Being a freelancer means being able to transform oneself in a way that precedes desireable outcomes.
CARPING was my specialty until I decided I wasn't having it.
TYhat's when people started wanting my photographs.
I call myself a charlatan.
You could call me an imposter.
I need a good nickname.
Fake phony assistant regional bullshit producer?
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 16, 2013, 10:30:38 AM
Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.


Hi Russ,

Iím afraid you are right, but mistakenly optimistic: I donít think that it will get any better even in a long time.

My son once brought a schoolteacher girlfriend out for a holiday here; we fell out over the word alright which, obviously, doesnít exist, the correct form of the expression being all right. She didnít believe me at first, and then felt that she had to defend her impossible position. Folks get through university, teacher-training colleges and still donít know whatís correct? My son went for another beer.

Itís a similar thing with race: we have a lot of people in Britain who originate from Pakistan, a legacy of the hurried politics of 1947. In a discussion about recent dramatic changes to the look of the population of our old neighbourhood in Glasgow, my daughter and one of her children were quite upset when I referred to people of such ethnic origins as Paki; they took that as a form of insult! Being British, I am totally used to being referred to abroad as a Brit, and take no offence from that at all. Itís only an abbreviation of Briton, and accurate. Paki is only an abbreviation of Pakistani, but for some absurd reason probably dreamed up in some leftist race-relations boardroom, it has become taboo!

We used to have a very popular musical tv show in Britain called the Black and White Minstrel Show. (I shot promotional studio pix for one of the star singers: a Scottish girl called Margaret Savage; for some reason I never quite grasped, she called me Jumpiní Jack Flash.) The show had dancers dressed up in old-fashioned minstrel costume, their faces done up with black/white makeup, a happy-go-lucky show that brought lots of smiles and a general feel-good emotion to anyone watching. Amazingly, that, too, was ultimately seen to be an insulting form of entertainment. Why? Would it have been a different story if the actors had actually been black? Even the term negro spiritual is now seen as oh my goodness! I guess that where people seek to find offence, they will always manage to find it or, failing that, construct it.

The world has gone sweet, barking mad.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 16, 2013, 10:36:37 AM
hmmm
big stuff going on- you don't know what to do sometimes,
Here in California, on the fringes of several large population centers we've had people providing more and more for less and less.
Believe it.
Same wages for 25 years.
$25 an hour or so.
$10 bucks more for a really good hand.
There are dispatching agencies that provide good hands on a per diem.
$25 an hour, 5 guys, go like heck, 14G turns to 9G
All profit for a contractor.
Been going down steadily since it is pretty easy to watch tv and get the idea you could run your own job and hire out the labor from the parking lot of the local lumber yard.
It is hard to compete in a market that rewards results not rhetoric.
So more and more men watch me run my game and think they can compete.
There's no competition in my market.
Competitors are shut out.
Because my clients and I have worked out a relationship based on trust and longstanding traditions.
Being a freelancer means being able to transform oneself in a way that precedes desireable outcomes.
CARPING was my specialty until I decided I wasn't having it.
TYhat's when people started wanting my photographs.
I call myself a charlatan.
You could call me an imposter.
I need a good nickname.
Fake phony assistant regional bullshit producer?


Rocco, the Mafia has a point.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rocco Penny on February 16, 2013, 11:13:09 AM
 I'm proud of my generational history here in the land of the Ohlone, of my Father's Father and his family before that.
It is no inoculation, but at least I haven't been genocided on.
There should be a guild and union.
Man people are so short sighted.
You'll be glad to know I'm holding out for cash green money not a split,
and if I sell any I use the money to maintain a certain lifestyle the goats have become accustomed to.
If I had to make a living off of smoke and mirrors I'd die of starvation.
I also think anyone would.
Downloading your images to be manipulated by others in a market that pays pennies if anything?
No way man.
I only sell prints,
framed my way,
and if I make anything it's usually just friends.
I got a few personally signed cards from Carol Sideman and her husband Bernard yesterday.
Told Mr. Sideman his wife's paintings of the coast around where I live are brilliant.
He brought a few cards for me.
How nice.
Wish he'd bring me one of those 36x48 inch landscapes of Bean Hollow...


Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Isaac on February 16, 2013, 12:09:30 PM
...were quite upset when I referred to people of such ethnic origins as Paki; they took that as a form of insult!

Paki British slang offensive OED


Being British, I am totally used to being referred to abroad as a Brit, and take no offence from that at all. Itís only an abbreviation of Briton...

Yes, Brit is only an abbreviation of British, a phrase often used by Brits abroad to describe themselves.

No, Paki is not only an abbreviation of Pakistan, not a phrase used by people of Pakistani descent to describe themselves but a phrase used by British racists to mark out the other.

But you knew that.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 16, 2013, 05:56:13 PM
Rob has been pedalling this line for as long as I've known him and every time I tell him it's a matter of context. Time and again I've said if his grand-daughter calls him granddad it's a term of endearment but if some punk spits it in his face it's anything but.

Words evolve, always have done. "Contemporary, nah.

Alright?





Scream!

There's no parallel in the argument, Keith. I am not yelling anything in anyone's face. In the instances I quoted I was either at home with the family watching the tv set or, in the case of the daughter and granddaughter, speaking quietly on the terrace at home. There was no implied insult, violence or anything of the kind your scenario indicates.

There is a world of difference in using a term in a general conversation and using it as insult; you can turn pretty much anything into an insult with tone if you have a mind to do so. It's what acting is all about. And that °s exactly what you have just stated yourself: context. Indeed, as well as intent.

As for the evolution of words: does that mean that bad use of language magically becomes correct use of language because of ignorance? Where there is real need for new vocabulary it arrives; there's no need to ruin perfectly good stuff to make way for the acceptance of error. That makes no sense at all; it's vandalism.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: opgr on February 17, 2013, 05:12:33 AM
As for the evolution of words: does that mean that bad use of language magically becomes correct use of language because of ignorance?

Why not? Isn't that exactly how language works in the first place?

Why is it correct to abbreviate to "brits" and "pakis",
why is it not correct to abbreviate to "alright"?

I have less of a problem with redundancy as opposed to reduction.
The complexity of language imo is a reflection of our emotional development in society at large, as well as in the individual. A reduced vocabulary generally represents a reduced emotional awareness of the world around us. Even though the methods of communication and expression have grown exponentially for everyone, the goal behind those methods somehow seems very narrow, and results in, or perhaps even encourages, a very limiting emotional experience.

I always remember this one question someone asked me when I was a child: why is there a need for all these difficult words? I didn't know and didn't care back then. But as I have grown older, I understand the intricate differences between emotions much better, and now I understand the possible need to distinguish those emotions with different words.

Sometimes these intricate differences and complexity of emotions even transcends language and one has to resort to other means of expression to convey those emotions: poetry, music, art, etcÖ

See, there, I "bridged" it back to photography!
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 17, 2013, 06:07:48 AM

Ocar,

ďWhy is it correct to abbreviate to "brits" and "pakis",
why is it not correct to abbreviate to "alright"?Ē

The basic thing is this: Brit and Paki are not sound, legitimate words, they are abbreviations and live in the neighbourhood of slang expression. There is a huge difference between colloquial and written language, and one of the basics of education is to teach/learn awareness of such differences.

ďAlrightĒ is something else: it is absolutely the product of ignorance, an expression of the userís lack of knowledge of the correct word. This is seen from the fact that whilst it sounds as if the person is using the correct word, the ignorance is displayed in the writing, the user being utterly unaware of the error.

In a sense, it becomes the same thing as the written confusion between there and their: when someone is speaking, context (pace Keith) makes it clear which word is intended, and hence meaning comes through. However, when someone employs the incorrect one in a written medium, it yells out basic ignorance of English. Which does the writer no good service.

The thing is, itís so simple to get these things right that refusal to so do seems quite perverse. Why? New rebels without a cause?

Thereís a huge conflict between your line that I quoted above and the rest of your post, where you rightly explain the need for, and value of correct use of words. I donít quite grasp how you can manage, comfortably, to straddle both camps.

Having written my current views on the matter, I have to say that as a teenager I though myself capable of living in two different worlds at once. In school, I would communicate using the best language that I knew, but out of school it was all American teen-slang, with thru rather than through carrying an imagined load of added value. As I aged I realised that was a mistake: incorrect is usually, well, just incorrect.

Rob C

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: opgr on February 17, 2013, 07:07:52 AM
I donít quite grasp how you can manage, comfortably, to straddle both camps.

Because to me "alright" signifies redundancy as it doesn't particularly change the meaning. I presume that words like "already" and "always" have gone through a similar change. With the increased speed of communication, it is obviously preferable to remove redundancy first, before sacrificing meaning.

However, I do get your point about it not being slang, and I would certainly frown upon any teacher trying to defend the new spelling, even when notified of the error.

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 17, 2013, 07:18:06 AM
Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who are "laying on the couch." What they're laying isn't clear. These are the same people who think the past tense of "sink" is "sunk." (I even saw that one in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago.) It's the same bunch who believe it makes sense to say: "It begs the question, 'who done it?'" Several generations are involved because a couple generations back teachers joined the crowd, and it's been going on for a long time. When I was on active duty as a unit commander I'd have to review effectiveness reports written by the officers working for me. Again and again I'd run across the phrase: "The enormity of what this man has done. . ." or its equivalent. I'd suggest they look up the meaning of the word and see if that's really the word they want to use. I'd get blank stares.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

Maybe you need to correct the Oxford University Press. The Oxford Dictionary states that both sank snd sunk are the past forms of sink.   http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sink
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Jaffy on February 17, 2013, 07:59:24 AM
"It sank"
"It was sunk"

"four candles please"!
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: hjulenissen on February 17, 2013, 08:00:19 AM
Rob, the meanings haven't been altered; the problem is growing ignorance of the meanings. We're dealing with generations who ...
I just read Bill Brysons "Made in America", a fascinating read on how US English diverged from proper English (and how the language spoken and written in the UK today occasionally has diverged even more), and with it a lot of US history. Especially interesting for one whose English is just a second language.

Language seems to constantly evolve, borrow, break down, re-form in such a way that those who speak it at any time and place tries to make it "work" for them. If the distinction between "sink" and "sunk" serves no apparent purpose for those who use them, it is only to expect that they will merge over time, no matter what gray-haired academics might think.

-h
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 17, 2013, 08:59:14 AM
"It sank"
"It was sunk"


"four candles please"!



Past tense v. past participle, maybe? Anyway, the two uses are distinct and not interchangeable.


Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 17, 2013, 10:09:32 AM


Past tense v. past participle, maybe? Anyway, the two uses are distinct and not interchangeable.


Rob C

In modern English (whatever that is) sank is past simple and sunk is the past participle.  But historically both sank and sunk are past simple.  The Oxford Dictionary I linked above give an example: the boat sank   and    the boat sunk.   Language is a wonderful thing!  Languages are always changing and morphing.  What is incorrect today may be accepted as being correct in the future.  It surely has happened in the past...many times.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 17, 2013, 10:13:52 AM
My personal pet peeve, which appears often in the LuLa forum, is the use of the verb "loose" when the writer means "lose." Adding an extra "o" surely doesn't simplify the word, and since the two words have entirely different meanings in English, their misuse does nothing to improve communication.

[/rant]
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 17, 2013, 10:23:23 AM
My personal pet peeve, which appears often in the LuLa forum, is the use of the verb "loose" when the writer means "lose." Adding an extra "o" surely doesn't simplify the word, and since the two words have entirely different meanings in English, their misuse does nothing to improve communication.

[/rant]


This is one of my pet peeves too.  Why don't people make the same mistake with choose and chose?
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 17, 2013, 10:51:29 AM
This is one of my pet peeves too.  Why don't people make the same mistake with choose and chose?
Well, I for one chose not to.

And I still choose not to.   :D
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 17, 2013, 01:04:51 PM
Well, I for one chose not to.

And I still choose not to.   :D



Helps illustrate the problem I mentioned earlier about people who can use the word that sounds correct but have no idea how to spell it.

Did Eric chews not to choose, I wonder?

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: RSL on February 17, 2013, 01:59:57 PM
Maybe you need to correct the Oxford University Press. The Oxford Dictionary states that both sank snd sunk are the past forms of sink.   http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sink

Right Bryan, they're past "forms," but one's simple past tense and the other's past perfect. There's a difference. Yesterday it sank (action was going on). Now it's sunk (action complete. no more action).

Now it's true that the Brits may have a different approach, but in the U.S. using past perfect for simple past tense is flat wrong. Reason I know is that my mom was a high school English teacher. But of course that was in the days when English teachers knew the difference.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 18, 2013, 01:25:51 AM
Right Bryan, they're past "forms," but one's simple past tense and the other's past perfect. There's a difference. Yesterday it sank (action was going on). Now it's sunk (action complete. no more action).

Now it's true that the Brits may have a different approach, but in the U.S. using past perfect for simple past tense is flat wrong. Reason I know is that my mom was a high school English teacher. But of course that was in the days when English teachers knew the difference.

In your sentence "Yesterday it sank", sankis a verb.  In your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb.  I am an English teacher now and I know the difference.  ;D
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: kencameron on February 18, 2013, 01:59:20 AM
  In your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb. 
So would it be wrong to say "it has sunk" as one might  say "has exploded", and if one did say that would "sunk" and "exploded" be adjectives? I would think of  "has exploded" and "has sunk" as forms of the verb as I would think of "will explode" or indeed "will have exploded" or "will have sunk". But then, I am an English major, and so I like to complicate things.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: MarkH2 on February 18, 2013, 02:07:54 AM
My personal pet peeve ...
[/rant]


Which raises -- not begs -- the question, what is your pet (language misuse) peeve?  Surely "begs the question" in place of "raises the question."  The former is a logical fallacy in which the speaker assumes the truth of a premise by simple assertion.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 18, 2013, 02:23:39 AM
So would it be wrong to say "it has sunk" as one might  say "has exploded", and if one did say that would "sunk" and "exploded" be adjectives?

Your two examples are in the present perfect tense...as I am sure you know.  Therefore, sunk and exploded are not adjectives, they are past participles.  Is sunk would be present simple and sunk would be an adjective.


I would think of  "has exploded" and "has sunk" as forms of the verb as I would think of "will explode" or indeed "will have exploded" or "will have sunk". But then, I am an English major, and so I like to complicate things.

Correct.


  "Has exploded" and "has sunk" are present perfect, and sunk and exploded are past participles, not adjectives.  Therefore all are correct.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 18, 2013, 05:26:20 AM
Which raises -- not begs -- the question, what is your pet (language misuse) peeve?  Surely "begs the question" in place of "raises the question."  The former is a logical fallacy in which the speaker assumes the truth of a premise by simple assertion.





Those I don't like, but can easily forgive (if I'm not hungry at the time); another one that really bugs me is the split infinitve: it's so damned simple to avoid.

Oddly, it doesn't offend me in colloquial usage at all, if only because my own head is far slower in conversation than in other forms of communication, and so I can't really curse others where I find that I do the same thing...

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: kencameron on February 18, 2013, 05:56:47 AM
Ah. So, looking back, when you wrote that "in your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb" you are referring to the most likely reading of RSL's actual sentence rather than asserting that "it's" in the phrase "it's sunk" is correct only as a contraction of "it is" and would be wrong as a contraction of "it has"?

Ok, ok, I hear the silent screaming. I'll go away now.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: WalterEG on February 18, 2013, 05:58:36 AM
But Rob,

The split infinitive is a heap of horse poop.  It was a somewhat foolhardy attempt by linguistic boffins to impart some classical pretentiousness to English, borrowed from Latin.

And, of course, it must be remembered that even the Romans hardly spoke Latin.

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: RSL on February 18, 2013, 07:17:17 AM
In your sentence "Yesterday it sank", sankis a verb.  In your sentence "Now it's sunk", the verb is is and sunk is an adjective not a verb.  I am an English teacher now and I know the difference.  ;D

You're right of course, Bryan. "Haste makes waste" (and confusion). But the verb "is" isn't there in "now it's sunk." The "s" stands for "has," not "is." The error was to add the word "now." Shouldn't have stuck that in.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 18, 2013, 10:22:36 AM
But Rob,

The split infinitive is a heap of horse poop.  It was a somewhat foolhardy attempt by linguistic boffins to impart some classical pretentiousness to English, borrowed from Latin.

And, of course, it must be remembered that even the Romans hardly spoke Latin.





Hmmm.... can't say that I agree about it being pretension, because the effect is to create complicated verbs out of things that are really only part verb, though I do agree about the Romans. They hardly spoke at all: settled it all with swords, nets and tridents stolen off statues in public squares.

There's a statue at Paisley Cross (not Park - what was Prince's connection or obsession with the town?), down a level to where the public loos are/used to be, that always caught my eye: a buxom lady who always looked in need of a good bra. Especially when it snowed. Unlike the Romans of the era, I would have added to her wardrobe rather than stolen from it. In summer, she could have reverted to topless and all would have been well.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Robert Roaldi on February 18, 2013, 01:59:06 PM
There are no (and never have been) rules about splitting infinitives. The placement of the adverb before, in the middle of, or after the infinitive should only be guided by the meaning that you are trying to convey. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't. The correct version is the version that correctly conveys the meaning that you mean to convey.

I currently make my living copy-editing scientific journals. This does not make me an expert on grammar or spelling, but it does make me a near-expert on using style guides. There are lots of them, and the one thing they have in common is that they contradict each other all the time. When people try to assert that their rules of grammar or spelling are correct and that others are wrong, well, I just laugh out loud. There are common basic rules of course, but I am talking about the more subtle uses of language, the ones all debates are about.

Spelling and rules of grammar change all the time, especially spelling. The progression of compound words into hyphenated forms, and later into combined nonhyphenated versions is commonplace and occurs very quickly. It's not wrong, it's not even unusual. The conventions that happen to be popular at the time that you learn them are no more correct than earlier or later ones. Get used to it.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 18, 2013, 03:13:32 PM
There are no (and never have been) rules about splitting infinitives. The placement of the adverb before, in the middle of, or after the infinitive should only be guided by the meaning that you are trying to convey. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't. The correct version is the version that correctly conveys the meaning that you mean to convey.

I currently make my living copy-editing scientific journals. This does not make me an expert on grammar or spelling, but it does make me a near-expert on using style guides. There are lots of them, and the one thing they have in common is that they contradict each other all the time. When people try to assert that their rules of grammar or spelling are correct and that others are wrong, well, I just laugh out loud. There are common basic rules of course, but I am talking about the more subtle uses of language, the ones all debates are about.

Spelling and rules of grammar change all the time, especially spelling. The progression of compound words into hyphenated forms, and later into combined hyphenated versions is commonplace and occurs very quickly. It's not wrong, it's not even unusual. The conventions that happen to be popular at the time that you learn them are no more correct than earlier or later ones. Get used to it.

I remember my first day in an Advanced Grammar class my last year at University, the professor told us that most of the rules of grammar were more suggestions than actual rules. We spent the rest of the semester learning how to correctly "break the rules".   There are almost always exceptions to the exception....
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Colorwave on February 18, 2013, 03:33:26 PM
You kids get off my lawn!

LOL (kid's speak for Ridere Clara Voce)

Best of luck trying to nail Silly Putty (language) to the wall.  Robert and Bryan capture the concept quite succinctly and accurately.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: kencameron on February 19, 2013, 01:43:10 AM
The conventions that happen to be popular at the time that you learn them are no more correct than earlier or later ones. Get used to it.
Absolutely. However, it is useful to be aware of the prevailing conventions and how they have changed. "Errors of grammar" may be errors of rhetoric. Rob, and an unknown (to me) number of people like him may be distracted from what you are trying to say if they don't share your conventions. Spelling is mutable too but I find it very hard to seriously attend to anything written by someone who can't spell, despite knowing very well that Shakespeare couldn't spell.
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 19, 2013, 05:07:56 AM
Absolutely. However, it is useful to be aware of the prevailing conventions and how they have changed. "Errors of grammar" may be errors of rhetoric. Rob, and an unknown (to me) number of people like him may be distracted from what you are trying to say if they don't share your conventions. Spelling is mutable too but I find it very hard to seriously attend to anything written by someone who can't spell, despite knowing very well that Shakespeare couldn't spell.




You're doing this for spite, aren't you?

;-)

Rob C


Regarding poor spelling: I could forgive that far more easily than bad grammar. Spelling comes into a rather different set of recognition/memory areas. Under bad spelling I don't place the misuse of words such as there and their; I don't think those types of error have much to do with anything other than the lack of reading books or, perhaps disadvantages of childhood education. And the latter doesn't necessarily deserve to be placed on the shoulders of systems or parents: kids contribute (or don't!) a hell of a lot to their own future problems or success.

Rob C
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Bryan Conner on February 19, 2013, 07:27:29 AM



You're doing this for spite, aren't you?

;-)

Rob C


Regarding poor spelling: I could forgive that far more easily than bad grammar. Spelling comes into a rather different set of recognition/memory areas. Under bad spelling I don't place the misuse of words such as there and their; I don't think those types of error have much to do with anything other than the lack of reading books or, perhaps disadvantages of childhood education. And the latter doesn't necessarily deserve to be placed on the shoulders of systems or parents: kids contribute (or don't!) a hell of a lot to their own future problems or success.

Rob C

I am glad that you specified the reading of books and not newspapers and websites....especially newspapers.  I find it inexcusable (not unexcusable) for a newspaper to contain misspelled words.  But, I suppose that the misuse of words may be a bigger problem than misspelled words.  There is too much reliance on computers to check the spelling instead of actually proofreading a text. 
Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: WalterEG on February 19, 2013, 12:19:02 PM
Has the proof-reader's position gone the way of the Linotype Operator's pivotal task?

Title: Re: What it is 'n' what it ain't.
Post by: Rob C on February 19, 2013, 12:39:48 PM
I think that pretty much everything is going home to meet the dodo.

If this 'progress' keeps up, soon there won't be any work for humans, and then who's going to buy what with what? Will anyone be left to make it matter?

I saw today on the news that parts of the UK have decided to create electrical recharging points for a new generation of electriclly powered automobiles. It's going to be less expensive then petrol. Really? My last electricity bill here in Mallorca was Ä314.14 for 1,547 Kws. I use it only for heating the water for one brief shower a day, making tea and coffee, the electric blanket, one sitting room heater, and cooking two meals at the weekend. As it is, the power coming into the house is way down from what it should be and they constantly try to get you to cut consumption. Where would electrical cars drive the money and supply equation?

Effin' crazy: the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing!

Rob C