Tuesday, 3 April 2012

macaronic signs

And what, you ask, about the public use of English in Ukraine? Is there English-language public signage to be seen on the streets of Kyiv?

Not much, compared with some other eastern European countries. And what there is tends to be masked by being written in Cyrillic.

Here’s part of a photo I took from a window in the Linguistic University. It’s a dealership for Jaguar cars. As you can see, the Jaguar logo, with the word in English, appears on the right; to the left, the Cyrillic writing says ЯГУАР СЕРВІС, i.e. ‘Jaguar service’. (I don’t know whether they would pronounce ягуар with ɦ or with ɡ.) The word сервіс ‘service’ presumably qualifies as a loanword rather than a word in a foreign language (English). The same is true for my hotel’s trilingual notice about ‘room service’. (The English version is not actually correct, since we don’t write ‘room service’ with a hyphen.)
And ‘smartphone’ has certainly been adopted as a loanword. Here it is with a Ukrainian plural ending (and a discount). Here is the ‘price list’ (прайс лист, prajs ɫɪst) offered by a Міні Хауз кафе (cf blog, 2 June 2011).
My familiarity with the Cyrillic alphabet is sufficient that if I see a sign saying РЕСТОРАН I read it to myself as restoran. But people who don’t know Cyrillic see something quite different. They see Latin letters, and read it to themselves as ˈpektəʊpɑː. Or so they tell me. What a funny word for a restaurant!

In Kyiv I saw a small political demonstration on the streets. I’m not sure what it was about, but the protesters were carrying signs reading (I thought, unthinkingly) Hi!.

Who were they greeting so warmly? Who were they saying hello to? It was only after doing a double take that I realized that the signs actually said НІ!, which is pronounced nʲi and is the Ukrainian for “no!”. No, no, no!

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photograph of this, but on the internet I found one that will perhaps do instead. If you look very carefully you will see a tiny dot on the I, which is a hint that the letter is not Latin I but Cyrillic І.
In Ukraine I also noticed several advertisements for Baxi fires. Baxi is a British manufacturer, based in Preston, and (I quote) “one of Europe’s biggest manufacturers and distributors of domestic and commercial water and space heating systems”. The name is based on the surname of the founder, one Richard Baxendale. In English, of course, we pronounce it ˈbæksi. I can’t help wondering whether Ukrainians would read it as ˈvaxʲi, since in Cyrillic B stands for the labiodental v and X for the voiceless velar fricative. Or do they recognize it as English and say ˈbeksi? There’s more here.

42 comments:

  1. A few comments and/or questions.

    "ЯГУАР СЕРВІС" looks like a syntactic macaronism as well, noun (ЯГУАР) doing the job of adjective and preceding, as _determinans_, the _determinandum_. I don't know much Ukrainian but I'd guess that this is not native in any Slavic languages, which prefer rather 'real' adjectives or composite nouns (ЯГУАР-СЕРВІС) or work with nouns in the genitive case, usually following the _determinandum_ (rather than preceding them). ЯГУАР СЕРВІС makes, at least on me, the impression of a joke.

    Even more so: PRICE LIST, written in Cyrillic. A joke, a gag, an eye candy, rather than 'serious' linguistic reality?

    Rum-servis celodobovo (in Cyrilic) -- 'celodobovo' is one of those countless Polonisms in Ukrainian ('całodobowo'), as is 'znizhkami' (price-reductions, in the instrumental case), the lady with a Smartphone. Needless to say, I am NOT saying that Polonisms in the vocabulary is the only thing that makes Ukrainian different from Russian.

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    1. Even more so: PRICE LIST, written in Cyrillic. A joke, a gag, an eye candy, rather than 'serious' linguistic reality?

      Apparently not, Wojciech. Searching праис лист on Google Images produces about 11,800 results. The one I looked at has this striking mixture:

      Процессоры Sandy Bridge прописались в прайс-листе Intel

      Substituting праис лiст got about 12,000 hits.

      In both languages a single hyphenated word seems to be the norm — unlike the notice pictured in John's posting.

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    2. Strange. Ask your wife whether she does not think that this is too little linguistic sovereignety, too much linguistic subservience. But maybe the 'spirit of the language' (Sprachgeist) accepts, nay, calls for that...?

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    3. Elena isn't happy with праис-лист. But the term she grew up with прейскурант is hardly more 'authentic'.

      It's like the man who objected to the the new-fangled сзндвич when there was a perfectly good Russian word бутерброд.

      Preiskurant is, of course, a single word in German and was adopted as a single word in Russian. However, a little googling reveals that it's now often spelled преис-курант. It seems entirely possible that the new spelling is based on праис-лист.

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    4. You mean сэндвич, though you may have to enlarge your font size to see the difference. You'd have thought that after all this time the alphabet would have evolved to make these letters more distinct...

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    5. Thinking about it, as the alphabet has been deliberately reformed, no doubt to improve literacy, I'm all the more surprised that the similarity between з and э persists.

      While I'm at it, I'm also going to nitpick about "праис-лист" and "преис-курант" in Russian. I'm sure they should each have an "i-kratkoe" (i.e. "прайс-лист" and "прейс-курант").

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    6. funny, but I have never perceived the letters 'з' and 'э' as similar, let alone misleadingly similar. Cyrilic is not my 'first' alphabet, I learnt it when I was eleven. On the other hand, from my field (philosophy) I know that people with little experience with Greek often confound 'ζ' (zeta, dzeta, zdeta, woddever) with 'ς' (sigma final), even type-setters... though I personally don't find these letters much similar (Greek is not my first alphabet, either). It's all very relative, it seems...

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    7. Ad David

      OK, thank you. We say 'cennik', cena, price, Lithuanian kaina, Latin poena. Preiskurant had been for long in Russian, (it is authentically Russian in the sense in which 'beef' is authentically English) so Elena is justly unhappy with the new intruder 'prais-list'.

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    8. Alan

      Yes you're right on all counts. Posting in a hurry in one alphabet is an invitation to error. Two alphabets and two keyboard drivers was just too much.

      The Mac Russian Phonetic Keyboard is great for people like me who look at the physical keys. But э is unmemorably out on the / key, and you have to remember to type j for й.

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  2. I'd just like to point out that neither service nor restaurant is (necessarily) an English word: both are French loan-words in English.

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  3. Concerning 'restoran' (ресторан) in Russian, it's almost certainly a French loanword, harking back to the XIX c.

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  4. >> Is there English-language public signage to be seen on the streets of Kyiv?

    Clare and I were both in Kyiv last year and commented to ourselves that the people travelling for the European Championships were going to find life very difficult, not only for the fact that one simply can't rely on English as an international form of spoken communication, but also because the signage postulated a knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet.

    >> My familiarity with the Cyrillic alphabet is sufficient that if I see a sign saying РЕСТОРАН I read it to myself as restoran.

    That didn't help us so much when the sign for the only restaurant near us was written in the cursive style, by which, for example, 't' looks to us as 'm'. The same problem arose when perusing a menu with cursive writing. 'Pasta' doesn't seem quite so recognisable when one perceives an 'm' in it :)

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  5. 'English as an international form of spoken communication,'

    you meant 'English as a form of international spoken communication', didn't you? Your phrasing suggests that you expect everyone to speak (as opposed to writing?) English. But is English to be relied on in this faculty anywhere else? Is there for instance a lot of English signage in Madrid or Istanbul or...? Much more than in Kiyv?

    The cursive style is something of a problem in Cyrillic, but try to decipher cursive Hebrew with printing style knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet. (I suspect Mr. Wells knows both styles in Hebrew.) Well, learn, learn, learn, as Lenin is famous to have said so often.

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  6. Ягуар is not a transliteration of the brand-name Jaguar. It's the word in Ukrainian (and in Russian) meaning 'jaguar' i.e. the large wild cat.
    The Russian word is pronounced jiˈgwar and the Uktarainian is presumably pronounced jaˈɦwar.

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    1. yeah, you're probably right, this has not occurred to earlier. But if so, the syntax is all the more macaronic.

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  7. I agree that Ягуар ought to be pronounced jaˈɦwar (or jaˈɦuar) with a fricative (ɦ).

    Theoretically, for the sound [g] of loanwords to be kept intact in Ukrainian, it is supposed to be written with the following non-Russian letter : ґ

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghe_with_upturn

    Jérôme Poirrier
    Grenoble, France

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  8. Here is an article about the "Volkswagen Beetle" that makes use of the letter ґ :

    "Фольксваґен Бітл" виставили в мексиканському музеї народного мистецтва

    http://www.ukr.net/news/folksva_en_b_tl_vistavili_v_meksikanskomu_muze_narodnogo_mistectva-7934527-1.html

    (however, it seems that even in 2012 the occurrence of ґ remains pretty rare on the internet and is replaced with a plain г more often than not...)

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  9. A little googling reveals that the boiler company is referred to as BAXI(Бакси) — at least some of the time. In other words, some say baksi. Perhaps everybody does.

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  10. >> you meant 'English as a form of international spoken communication', didn't you? Your phrasing suggests that you expect everyone to speak (as opposed to writing?) English. But is English to be relied on in this faculty anywhere else? Is there for instance a lot of English signage in Madrid or Istanbul or...? Much more than in Kiyv?

    Good grief, you're tiresome. I said nothing about the presence of English signage in that clause so your extrapolation is pointless.

    What I meant is that people (whether they're native English-speakers or not) will usually attempt a few words of English when in foreign environments and can usually expect some degree of success in communication. Portuguese or Swedish and on holiday in Hungary? You'll probably address the hotel staff and waiters in simple English. (Not that I think the status quo is fair at all.)

    My whole point was that our experience in Kyiv suggested that this wouldn't be an option. We had to use our very limited Russian because people in general really didn't know English. So football fans are going to find life hard during the forthcoming championships because not only will they not be able to use English as their spoken means of communication when purchasing food, buying tickets etc, but they'll also find life hard because the signage is exclusively in Cyrillic. They'll be going to a country where they can't use verbal communication and won't be able to read anything.

    That's what I wrote. I can't see why you needed me to go into further detail from what was, I think, a pretty obvious point.

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    1. Sorry, no need to make such heavy weather of just a small point. My point was just about the position of the adjective 'international' in your phrasing: 'international means of communication', versus 'means of international communication'. The latter is perfect, the former is not, that was it.

      As for the rest, I would (not being a football fan) share your concerns, and I have made similar observations in other cities of the former Soviet Union, but also of Latin America. Those locals who do speak English and are willing and able to help the fans will be at an advantage in various ways, at the very least they will have acquired some experience in speaking English with non-Kiyvers.

      I personally have the policy of learning some bits and pieces of the local language wherever I go (and using them, whenever English does not help). Including the writing system. My reference to Lenin was a joke, of course, don't be so serious.

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    2. No, Wojciech, that's not fair on Tim.

      An international form of spoken communication is a form of spoken communication that you can use around the world.

      A form of international spoken communicationis a form of spoken communication which is used face-to-face around the world or by telecommunication across the world.

      Tim was thinking of the user, not the phenomenon. People carry English around with them (if they have it, of course) just as they might carry plug adaptors, visas, guidebooks, local currency, cash substitutes, international driving licences and so on.

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    3. OK, thank you, I am giving up, obviously I am _au bout de mon anglais_.

      I thought 'international form of X' = a form of X which is (or should be, or tendentially is, or some such) accepted by, valid for, current amongst, well-spread across... all nations. Whereas (I thought) 'form of international X' is a form which X assumes whenever more than just one nation is involved.

      OK, so the above is wrong, I take it. I have never had much continuous exposure to spoken English so my 'feel' for various nuances is admittedly weak.

      But---concerning 'an international form of spoken communication' as, on your definition, 'a form of spoken communication that you can use around the world' -- well, English is not (yet?) that, sadly. Not everyone on this planet speaks English, whether we like it or not, and that is why, as Tim correctly observed, the language of Shakespeare cannot be relied on as i.f.o.c.

      Re Tim's observations as such, I from my own experience can confirm them and find them, too, (moderately) deplorable.

      Re Cyrillic alphabet: it seemeth (I am saying cautiously: seemeth) to me that it, like the Greek alphabet, is easier to learn and to read for someone who knows the Latin alphabet than, say, the Georgian, the Armenian, the Arabic, the Hebrew, Devanagari or the Singhalese script, so the barrier which Tim justly pointed out is perhaps not all that non-negotiable. Although he again made a good and interesting point about the cursive Cyrillics as an additional obstacle.

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    4. Seems to me "an international form of spoken communication" and "a form of international spoken communication" mean the same thing, with nuances being clear from context, not word order.

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    5. I do not know if both locutions mean exactly the same thing, to me they seem to mean something different, but again, the difference is not that which David Crosby sees between'em. And then, I am not a native speaker, so I may be plainly wrong. (David seems to think so.)

      But even so: you are right, the correct meaning should be gathered from the context. But part of the context are, too, the speakers, their personalities, their views, their world-outlook (Weltanschauung) and what have you, and if you don't know them, you cannot guess if the persons mean the thing which you would express in a slightly different way and which you too believe. I *have* met---believe or not---people who believe that the world generally speaks English, or tends to speak English or something like that, i. e. who did believe in English (and in some cases, in another language) as an 'international form of spoken communication' on the 'strong' reading of this phrase.

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    6. Ellen

      But there is a clue from the context. It's clear that Tim is using international in the same way as in international driving licence — not as in international relations.

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    7. 'It's clear that Tim is using international in the same way as in international driving licence — not as in international relations.'

      well, that is certainly what philosophers call a 'charitable' interpretation, that is, one that is applied when the receiver of a message thinks, assumes, that its sender is reasonable (by the receiver's standards), i. e. holds more or less the same beliefs, adheres to the same principles, employs the same logic, and so on. The problem is, not knowing the person it is sometimes difficult to decide whether the charitable intepretation is to be applied or not. There are, as I know from experience, otherwise quite reasonable people who believe the world speaks (better or worse) English, or tendentially so, or that foreign languages are just strange accents in English, or variants of English (like Jamaican English, e.g.) and such-like (they tend to be Americans, but that's not important). When I asked Tim my question---which clearly gave him so much nuisance---I only wanted to dispel the 'shadow of doubt' resting on whether he meant what I, tending to apply the 'charitable' interpretation to what he had said---assumed he 'ought to have' meant. That was it; as to the substance of what he had said I fully agree. Except that, perhaps, football fans are rather tough blokes and they won't be so easily discouraged by small linguistic obstacles.

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    8. I don't see how language can work as communication without charitable interpretation.

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    9. 'Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.' Well, it is Maundy Thursday, after all.

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    10. Ad David

      language can, alas, work without charitable interpretation. We constantly impute to one another various irrational thoughts on the basis of what the given utterances literally mean.

      Social cohesion, peaceful cooperation and such-like cannot work with too much attitudes like that.

      But, this is our destiny in this post-lapsarian state, not always is a charitable interpretation the right interpretation. For (sorry) we do entertain irrational thoughts, every now and again. 'When in doubt [as to which intepretation to apply] ask'. This is the best policy, probably, yet not, it too, without dangers.

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    11. David Crosbie, I certainly didn't say or imply there's no context for the remark. Yes, as originally used, it had a context. And that context is why Tim Owens was accused of using the wrong word order. And thus my comment about the two different wordings being discussed.

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    12. Wojciech

      We constantly impute to one another various irrational thoughts on the basis of what the given utterances literally mean.

      That's surely a case of language not working as communication.

      Charitable interpretation strikes me as the same thing as Grice's cooperative principle, which features strongly in the training of teachers of language for communication.

      PS The new edition of Luath Scots Language Learner is published, and the accompanying CD's are expected in two weeks.

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    13. Ad Ellen K.

      'Tim Owens was accused of using the wrong word order'

      I would not say that I 'accused' Tim of whatever, least of all of using a word order, right or wrong. I just asked. This is not, on any count, equivalent with/to an accusation, at least according to cultural codes known to me. 'Accuse' is not even too strong a word, it's the wrong word altogether.

      Linguistic communication is full less-than-absolutely-felicitously formulated phrases and stuff. Having been in the academe for a few decades I am used to this and hardly ever scandalised. Having been in this world for like 60 years I am used to strangest things. When my father died and I said 'I am glad that my father died in this [a certain] hospice' I immediately realised that this was very ambiguous, to say the least. (To give just one example.)

      In addition, both David Crosbie and you seem to think (though for different reasons) that Tim's phrasing was not at all less-than-absolutely-felicitous.

      For reasons explained above I did not rely on the context to as high a degree as did you or David. With all due respect, I don't know Mr. Owen (not *Owens), thus I can't assume anything about his beliefs as to the sense of 'internationality' which English enjoys, or deserves enjoying, as 'form of spoken communication'. Life experience has taught one not to assume such things too early.

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    14. Ad David


      " 'We constantly impute to one another various irrational thoughts on the basis of what the given utterances literally mean.'

      That's surely a case of language not working as communication. "

      I'd beg to disagree: we use language not just for cooperative means but, too, in order to hit, damage, 'finish off' other users of language. Sad but true. Surely it's not 'communication' in any stronger sense than just 'communication of thoughts'. But thoughts, like words, can be weapons. If a non-charitable interpretation is applied (and wrongly, which it need not), communication does not break down but is 'kidnapped'. The non-charitably interpreted speaker can say 'no, that was not what I intended to say' but we are quick to reply: 'but you _did_ say that, did you not?' Frequent in courts.

      Re Grice's cooperative principle, yes they are kindred, yet not exactly homogeneous, the 2 principles are on differen levels.

      Thank you for the pointer to Scots.

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    15. Wojciech

      The non-charitably interpreted speaker can say 'no, that was not what I intended to say' but we are quick to reply: 'but you _did_ say that, did you not?' Frequent in courts.

      Maybe so — but it's a downright failure of communication.

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    16. Ellen, Wojciech

      Other things being equal, there's syntactic difference. Using labelled bracket notation

      (ᴺᴾ¹(ᴰᴱᵀanᴰᴱᵀ)(ᴬᴰᴶinternationalᴬᴰᴶ)(ᴺᴾ²(ᴺformᴺ)(ᴾᴾ(ᴾᴿᴱᴾofᴾᴿᴱᴾ)(ᴺcommunicationᴺ)ᴾᴾ)ᴺᴾ²)ᴺᴾ¹)

      The inner noun phrase (NP2) is form of communication

      (ᴺᴾ¹(ᴰᴱᵀaᴰᴱᵀ)(ᴺformᴺ)(ᴾᴾ(ᴾᴿᴱᴾofᴾᴿᴱᴾ)(ᴺᴾ²(ᴬᴰᴶinternationalᴬᴰᴶ)(ᴺcommunicationᴺ)ᴺᴾ²)ᴾᴾ)ᴺᴾ¹)


      The inner noun phrase (NP2) is international communication

      This invites the questions:

      • In this context, can you conceive a form of communication which is other than international?
      • In this context, can you conceive of language being a relevant form of something other than international communication?

      My answer is yes to the former. There are many forms of communication. English is one that a tourist finds it useful to carry round because it's international.

      To the latter, I'm not so sure. Is there any sense in which a tourist finds it useful to carry round English around to as a form of something else?

      Where, you may ask, do I get tourist and useful to carry round from? From my understanding of what Tim was talking about.

      I did say 'other things being equal'. The syntax doesn't always force one interpretation — which allows us to crack jokes about criminal law experts.

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    17. Ad David

      1. 'it's a downright failure of communication.'

      This (in particular 'downright') presupposes that:

      1. Speakers/writers do always have a very crisp, very lucid and distinct thought they want to express in front of their mind's eyes _before_ they go about expressing it.

      This is often, but far from always, true. Sometimes, the thought is being born in the process of formulating it in a language, and is not always 'ahead of' the linguistic expression, which consequently may be erratic and uncertain, even to the thinker/speaker/writer herself.

      2. Speakers/writers enjoy an 'interpretation sovereignty' (Deutungshoheit, as the German says) over that which they are saying/writing.

      This again is not always true. There is clear cases where they do and where they don't, and a vast area in-between.

      I would then not describe the above as a (downright) failure of communication (failure=breaking down, intercedent absence).

      Re your syntactical analysis: of 'international form...' vs. 'form of international...'. (With which I _grosso modo_ agree.)

      I'd tend to understand the former as a form that is common to all, or at least many, nations; which English is to but a very limited degree (unless you consider anglophone nations only...). So my answer to the first question is 'yes'.

      I would then understand 'international communication' in 'form of international communication' as communication that involves (representatives of) more than one nation. So my answer to the second question is 'yes', languages are conceivable which have never served as means of 'international communication' in this sense (even if most languages _de facto_ have at least once served as such means). (The Ainu language, otherwise not noted for a high degree of internationality, served as means of communication between several Ainus and several students of same, e.g. the Polish student Bronisław Piłsudski, so it was at least embryonically 'form of international communication'...).

      English is, deplorably, international to a limited degree, for instance in the capital of one of the biggest European countries it does not turn out to be so useful... . For the moment, however, it appears that from amongst the to-some-degree international languages (means of linguistic communication), amongst which Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese... etc. English is limited to the least degree and such, interpreted charitably, is the sense of the phrase 'English is international', which I'd hate to quarrel against, given my love to/for it.

      You were obviously quicker and more efficient at understanding Tim Owen from the context than I was, because 1. you and him share (I take it) the native language 2. due to that and to certain other factors you probably share with him more beliefs, assumptions, experiences, and stuff than I do. Nothing to marvel at, still less be upset or unhappy because of.

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    18. Communication through language is the product of two acts: of composition by the speaker and of interpretation by the intended or unintended addressee. Failure of communication may result from either act, from both, and/or from some extraneous factor such as ambient noise, lost radio contact etc etc.

      This ... presupposes that: ...Speakers/writers do always have a very crisp, very lucid and distinct thought they want to express in front of their mind's eyes _before_ they go about expressing it.

      Not at all. Communication between an inarticulate or muddled speaker and an empathetic hearer is entirely possible —— and quite often necessary.

      Speakers/writers enjoy an 'interpretation sovereignty' (Deutungshoheit, as the German says) over that which they are saying/writing.

      How can that not be? Of course, they also have a responsibility. if what they utter is incapable of conveying what they interpret it to mean, then communication is impossible. But what insight does that give us?

      If speakers express themselves badly and yet the hearer successfully interprets their intended meaning, that's successful communication — and it happens all the time.

      [Come to think of it, no humans would now be capable of expressing themselves in language but for the fact that some adults (probably parents) took the trouble to interpret their early baby utterances.]

      If speakers express themselves with brilliant clarity and precision but nobody pays attention, or they're drowned out by a pop concert, then communication suffers downright failure.

      If I understand correctly what you intend by your courtroom example, it's a situation when an unintended addressee chooses to ignore the meaning intended by the speaker in an utterance reported unsympathetically (and not necessarily truthfully) by the original and intended address — or even by an intermediary unintended addressee who was eavesdropping.

      Humpty Dumpty is partly right. Words mean whatever he chooses — to him. The drawback is one of democracy: words also mean whatever anybody else chooses — including his hearers. But if the discrepancy is only slight, then communication is still possible

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    19. My two points were only about why interpreting an utterance not as its author has interpreted it for his own use (which can, but need not be, uncharitably) need not mean a total collapse of communication.

      Re 'interpretation sovereignty': as we know from Homeros, words, once spoken, take on wings (epea pteroenta) and start their own life... A famous example is 'Deutschland ueber alles' by Hoffman von Fallersleben: he did not mean that in the chauvinistic way at all... Or: we say: the sun is rising, the sun is setting (at least I say such in my antiquated English or yore..) and we DON'T mean it, rather we mean: the sun seems to be ... ing due to the orbital turning and stuff... someone who ingenuously meant that the sun is doing these things could be told: No, you can't be meaning that, the sun is not rising at all, it's just that...etc., from an enlightened point of view.

      Humpty Dumpty is wrong (or right---but only in L.C.'s book, so very partly): no-one, save a big criminal like Goebbels or Stalin, perhaps---can make words mean what he wants them to, without rendering himself ridiculous or worthy of contempt.

      'If speakers express themselves badly and yet the hearer successfully interprets their intended meaning, that's successful communication — and it happens all the time'

      Part of the time, yes. Like you and ELena, my wife and me are heteroglottic too, with my good (but not perfect) knowledge of her language and her less good of mine. Thousand mirthful stories about continuously misinterpreting one another, that is, intepreting not in conformity with the intended meaning.

      But one has to distinguish: the literal meaning (of an utterance, not a single word); the intended-by-the-speaker-for-himself (for internal use, as it were); the intended-by-the-speaker for others; the charitable meaning, i. e. the most reasonable one, again, from a given addressee's of eavesdropper's point of view. Communication is maintained as long as at least one of these four hasn't broken down.

      My courtroom example can work both ways: for instance, a witness asked whether something-or-other can reply 'not that I know' and this is taken literally as a 'no', whereas the witness may have strong beliefs and perhaps some second-hand information as to the matter but use 'know' in a strong epistemological sense. I am asssuming that the answer 'no' is to her advantage. If her 'not that I know' were to be interpreted according to what she foro interno wanted it to mean, the judges could ask 'but have you any beliefs, any second-hand-information, any rumours' or such-like, causing further trouble.

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  11. Related to the homoglyphs in НІ versus HI, a key element of the plot of Murder on the Orient Express is the realisation that a handkerchief apparently embroidered with the letter "H" in fact belongs to Natasha.

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  12. Okay, final comment on homoglyphs, as I might have posted too many times to this thread already.

    I remember it causing great amusement in school Russian lessons when the teacher wrote "шапка" (shapka, meaning hat) on the board. This becomes clearer if you think in terms of:

    - handwritten forms
    - British slang (and non-rhotic accent)
    - teenage mentality

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  13. http://bash.im/quote/414005

    xxx: Sometimes it happens. You look at PEPSI logo and understand that it is actually written "РЕРЯ" [Rjerja] in Russian.
    xxx: And since that minute you couldn't read it in other way. Never.

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