Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The Conversation)   A sentence can be grammatical without meaning, not unlike this headline, which is a sentence without ending, dammit   (theconversation.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Linguistics, density of that packing, Psychology, language deficit, official language, neuronal connections, social context, structure of her brain  
•       •       •

790 clicks; posted to STEM » on 08 Dec 2021 at 10:15 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



22 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-12-08 6:58:41 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-12-08 7:14:30 PM  
Grammar is a pleasant fiction that  society more or less agreed on and enforced through the "education" of children. The future will probably look more like text messages.
 
2021-12-08 7:52:19 PM  
I'm an American. I speak however the fark I wanna. If you got a problem with that, then you can play with my penis.
 
2021-12-08 9:18:09 PM  
FTA

The CIA won't say

End FTA

Of course not. CIA does not comment on CIA activities unless a politician needs them to.
 
2021-12-08 9:19:18 PM  

cman: FTA

The CIA won't say

End FTA

Of course not. CIA does not comment on CIA activities unless a politician needs them to.


That was meant for the CIA/James Brown thread. My bad.
 
2021-12-08 10:33:27 PM  
Huh.
 
2021-12-08 10:42:12 PM  
"Colourless green ideas sleep furiously" is a bad example. "More people have been to Russia than I have" is much more mind-bending
 
2021-12-08 10:45:32 PM  
I've always wanted to develop a program to generate random syntax trees and randomly fill in grammatically correct words. Maybe someday I'll do it.
 
2021-12-08 10:48:45 PM  

AlgaeRancher: Grammar is a pleasant fiction that  society more or less agreed on and enforced through the "education" of children. The future will probably look more like text messages.


y tho
 
2021-12-09 12:08:27 AM  

Enigmamf: I've always wanted to develop a program to generate random syntax trees and randomly fill in grammatically correct words. Maybe someday I'll do it.


What, like the postmodernism generator?
 
2021-12-09 12:14:50 AM  
I figured that out when I realized that if you don't assume/presume from the beginning that the sentence has perfect grammar, it's not possible to say if it's meaningless or not. Example:

A man walks into a KFC and says, "I'll fried chicken the have". Is this meaningless?
Well, maybe he's not a native speaker. You swap the words fried chicken with have, and get "I'll have the fried chicken", ok. Presume it's perfect grammar, now. You follow the instructions.

With "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously", you might presume the grammar's off, and look for ways to fix it in good faith, you fail and then you get to decide it's meaningless. But who knows, maybe there's a way that a non-native speaker wanted to get a genuine idea across, but bungled the presentation...but until you give up on the grammar, you can't make a judgment on meaning, at all.
 
2021-12-09 12:28:57 AM  
Just look at anything Rush Limburger ever said on the radio.
 
2021-12-09 1:47:50 AM  

aremmes: Enigmamf: I've always wanted to develop a program to generate random syntax trees and randomly fill in grammatically correct words. Maybe someday I'll do it.

What, like the postmodernism generator?


No, generative n-grams are nothing new.
 
2021-12-09 2:07:15 AM  

covfefe: I figured that out when I realized that if you don't assume/presume from the beginning that the sentence has perfect grammar, it's not possible to say if it's meaningless or not. Example:

A man walks into a KFC and says, "I'll fried chicken the have". Is this meaningless?
Well, maybe he's not a native speaker. You swap the words fried chicken with have, and get "I'll have the fried chicken", ok. Presume it's perfect grammar, now. You follow the instructions.

With "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously", you might presume the grammar's off, and look for ways to fix it in good faith, you fail and then you get to decide it's meaningless. But who knows, maybe there's a way that a non-native speaker wanted to get a genuine idea across, but bungled the presentation...but until you give up on the grammar, you can't make a judgment on meaning, at all.


The meaningfulness of a sentence is determined by the context it's said within.  Your example here is deliberately *made* sensical by the inclusion of 'walks into a KFC', known to most for serving fried chicken.

Change that to 'walks into a Jiffy Lube' and sense goes away.

Similarly, 'colorless green ideas sleep furiously' can gain sense if we include 'walks into a renewable energy symposium' to have it be about green energy.
 
2021-12-09 2:43:18 AM  
Steve Martin's Dirty Trick to Play on a 3-Year Old Kid
Youtube 40K6rApRnhQ
 
2021-12-09 6:06:05 AM  

AdrienVeidt: covfefe: I figured that out when I realized that if you don't assume/presume from the beginning that the sentence has perfect grammar, it's not possible to say if it's meaningless or not. Example:

A man walks into a KFC and says, "I'll fried chicken the have". Is this meaningless?
Well, maybe he's not a native speaker. You swap the words fried chicken with have, and get "I'll have the fried chicken", ok. Presume it's perfect grammar, now. You follow the instructions.

With "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously", you might presume the grammar's off, and look for ways to fix it in good faith, you fail and then you get to decide it's meaningless. But who knows, maybe there's a way that a non-native speaker wanted to get a genuine idea across, but bungled the presentation...but until you give up on the grammar, you can't make a judgment on meaning, at all.

The meaningfulness of a sentence is determined by the context it's said within.  Your example here is deliberately *made* sensical by the inclusion of 'walks into a KFC', known to most for serving fried chicken.

Change that to 'walks into a Jiffy Lube' and sense goes away.

Similarly, 'colorless green ideas sleep furiously' can gain sense if we include 'walks into a renewable energy symposium' to have it be about green energy.


You're right about the symposium. The guy in Jiffy Lube might even have been saying he has a car that is fried chicken as a metaphoric synecdoche. The grammar still needs to be presumed perfect before you can judge in any situation at all.
 
2021-12-09 9:34:31 AM  
George Carlin, who was enthralled with the idiocy of language once commented that you can combine words into sentences that no one has ever said before, such as, "Throw me another anchor. I have room in my pocket."

This kind of thinking is especially noticeable once you have kids. You find yourself saying things that you never thought a person should ever say.

"Please stop putting the Barbie legs in the dog's butt."
"No, we don't put cat food on the lasagna."
"Why did you paint the TV with peanut butter?"
"I know your brother needed a haircut but let's take him to the barber instead of using your Smurf scissors."
"I'm glad that your favorite color is violet but did you have to tell me this at 3 AM? And why are you wearing mommy's bra on your head? And why is your chest covered in poop?"
 
2021-12-09 10:49:02 AM  

Slypork: George Carlin, who was enthralled with the idiocy of language once commented that you can combine words into sentences that no one has ever said before, such as, "Throw me another anchor. I have room in my pocket."

This kind of thinking is especially noticeable once you have kids. You find yourself saying things that you never thought a person should ever say.

"Please stop putting the Barbie legs in the dog's butt."
"No, we don't put cat food on the lasagna."
"Why did you paint the TV with peanut butter?"
"I know your brother needed a haircut but let's take him to the barber instead of using your Smurf scissors."
"I'm glad that your favorite color is violet but did you have to tell me this at 3 AM? And why are you wearing mommy's bra on your head? And why is your chest covered in poop?"


I'm personally awed by how easy it is to find novel phrases even in average Fark posts. For example, it appears that nobody in the google-crawled Internet has ever written the phrase, "enthralled with the idiocy of language".
 
2021-12-09 1:40:48 PM  

Slypork: "Why did you paint the TV with peanut butter?"


To be fair, I believe my mother asked my younger brother that question once, when we were very little...
 
2021-12-09 2:51:44 PM  

AlgaeRancher: Grammar is a pleasant fiction that  society more or less agreed on and enforced through the "education" of children. The future will probably look more like text messages.


This is not what the linguistic meaning of "grammar" is. The term has a field-specific definition that is separate from how everyday people tend to use it.
 
2021-12-09 2:54:24 PM  
It's worth reading the Wikipedia article on grammar if you are unfamiliar with the use of the term inside the field of linguistics:

"Outside linguistics, the term grammar is often used in a rather different sense. It may be used more broadly to include conventions of spelling and punctuation, which linguists would not typically consider as part of grammar but rather as part of orthography, the conventions used for writing a language. It may also be used more narrowly to refer to a set of prescriptive norms only, excluding those aspects of a language's grammar which are not subject to variation or debate on their normative acceptability."
 
2021-12-09 4:18:08 PM  
Words are useless
Especially sentences
They don't stand for anything
How could they explain how I feel?


[probably safe for work, but not sanity]

Madonna - Bedtime Story (Official Video) [HD]
Youtube CSaFgAwnRSc
 
Displayed 22 of 22 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.