Marvin Minsky has written an article he calls, “Communicating with Alien Intelligence.” He does not address the problem of how to differentiate between random gibberish and a message from an alien intelligence. He skips ahead to a hypothetical meeting of humans and aliens and asks whether or not they would be able to understand each other.
Why do people say, “going forward,” as in, “We will do things differently going foward”? They can’t go back and change the past, so of course they are speaking of the future. The phrase “from now on” is equally useless. I think maybe people pad their language with extra words to emphasize that they mean business. I did a search for “going forward” at NYTimes.com and was pleased that blogger Toni Monkovic declared it the Cliche of 2009.
I’m still learning 3-letter words. I promise that until 2008 I had never heard the word vet used as a verb, as in, “They failed to vet the candidate before nomination.” Am I crazy or did this usage begin very recently?
Joseph Asbell was my roommate back before the turn of the century. We parted ways when he went off to be an LDS missionary. Now he is working for a non-profit in California and puts his LDS Libertarian views on his blog ldslibertarian.blogspot.com.
Terry Gross, on her program, Fresh Air, routinely says, “If you’re just joining us, my guest is so an so. . .” But whether I’m just joining her or not has no bearing on who her guest is. What she means is: “My guest is so and so and I’m saying that for the benefit of those who have recently tuned in.” All she needs to do is pause and say the name of her guest. There is no need to explain why she is telling us who her guest is. “You’re listening to Fresh Air and my guest is Elijah Wood.”
Similarly, other people say things like, “If you’re hungry there’s food in the fridge.” Do they mean that if I’m not hungry there is no food in the fridge? If there is food in the fridge then is this statement true: “If you are not hungry, there is food in the fridge.”
Usually when people say “if” they mean that what follows is contingent on some condition being met. For example, if you have five dollars, you can buy a hamburger.
See? It’s easy.
[Posted from Waynesboro, Georgia]
According to Pam McCutcheon, when you are discussing your manuscript with your publisher your word count should be based on 250 words a page (1 inch margins, 25 lines per page, 12 point non-proportional font) and not the actual word count. This is because some parts of your manuscript may have fewer words per line than in general (ie: dialogue) but take up more space. The publisher is interested in how much space your manuscript will occupy.
Pam McCutcheon does not mention this, but long words take up more space than short words, and that is not taken into account in the 250 words per page formula.
I live about 5 klicks from work.
One of the most difficult parts of learning a new language is learning slang. Here is a dictionary of English slang at ESL Cafe.
Read more about this phonetic alphabet at Wikipedia.org