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Earthquake!
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarryLatham wrote:
Whatever. Rolling Eyes But notice, that's not what he said. He must've had something slightly different in his mind, and coded it the way he did. I think it's up to us to try to figure out what he most likely meant, rather than try to "correct" his use of English. Smile


Sure, Larry, I do seem to want to correct or rephrase a bit too much, and maybe am not interested enough in what this guy "had in mind"; that being said, there are limits to interpretation (more to do with patience than comprehensibility per se), and I do rather feel that this guy, if queried, would say that the kind of rephrases I (and possibly the majority of users) "have in mind" is (now that he has had a chance to think about it a bit more) what he actually meant and probably how he should have put it himself. I certainly wouldn't be including examples of this kind in any learner input until I was exactly sure why this phrasing was chosen over how I believe the majority would "logically" express whatever the underlying propositions were. Cool (I mean, you don't want learners deliberately not saying what they might want to mean, and then having to take a whole "text" to say what they meant to actually mean! Laughing ).

By the way, the "problem" there is more (to me) the "has" rather than the "is" (although I guess you could say the "has" follows on from the "is" quite naturally); that is, the "has" seems more "pivotal"...
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, fluffy, I won't give you a hard time about what you say here. Wink I would like to point out, however, that perhaps it accentuates the difference in our reactions to students (EFL learners) on the one hand, and native speakers on the other. As far as I can tell from your original quote, this chap, Bellini, is a native speaker. I take what he says with the supposition that he says it the way he wants to. Interpretation of his meaning, then, is my problem, not his. EFL students struggle more with coding properly, and, as you suggest, may benefit from our help in getting their ideas matched together with their language.

Larry Latham
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JuanTwoThree wrote:
"I'd rather you gave me a cup of coffee, if you didn't mind"

Nice example, JTT. Smile It's pretty clear this speaker does not refer to a past time event. And the clearest answer, for me, to your hobby-horse question is that the concept of remoteness offers a unifying umbrella for all uses. That's why I like it. Every use of a remote form, the way I see it, expresses the speaker's remote view of something. He may feel remote about the facts in an event, which may or may not include time, or about his evaluation of non-factual, non-temporal elements like possibilities, relationships, and so forth. We do, as listeners and interpreters, need some flexibility (within a limited range) in our understanding of where that remoteness applies, but the concept holds for all uses. For me, that makes it nice and neat. Cool

Larry Latham
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarryLatham wrote:
As far as I can tell from your original quote, this chap, Bellini, is a native speaker. I take what he says with the supposition that he says it the way he wants to. Interpretation of his meaning, then, is my problem, not his.


So, anytime you have a slight mental "blip" in processing what another native speaker says to you, you assume it is due to just your own limitations (of auditory memory, memory, intelligence, whatever), rather than a lapse, carelessness etc on his/her part?

I myself tend to assign a provisional meaning to their utterance, and edit in the form I am almost sure they ought to have said; I don't always think of their choice of form reflecting a conscious, fully meaningful choice of one (their) form over another (my substitute). Cool
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I might do that, but not before I've considered (quickly, perhaps, but also with some degree of care) what they've said and how I can imagine it as fitting to the speaking situation. For the most part, I believe native speakers get it right (unless, of course, they're just stupid or ignorant--a rare situation because I seldom spend much time talking to stupid or ignorant people, but it happens). Even those who break the rules (I don't get no respect!) generally have something special in mind when they break them, and it has communicative value. In a nutshell, the main difference between native speakers and non-natives is the vastness of their exposure, and the confidence and easy skill that comes with that. Often, non-native speakers tend to speak with greater grammatical "correctness" than natives, but their communicative power doesn't measure up.

Larry Latham
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woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fluffy, you are as big a blunderer as I am (we both love that edit button).

Take a pencil around with you for a bit in order to make some notes and take care to talk to some people who make you nervous (know any yakuza bosses?)- we'll soon show Mr.Latham how truly awful native speaker English can be!
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Kugellager



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarryLatham wrote:

I do not believe Mr. Bellini was referring to earthquakes in general, but rather to this one in particular when he said, "This is considered a major earthquake. It has the potential..."

Mr. Bellini wants you to understand that he thinks today's earthquake is to be considered major. It also is fact (according to Bellini) that such earthquakes have the potential to cause damage and casualties. He may not have known the extent of damage and casualties caused by this particular quake at the time he made his remark, but that is immaterial. What matters, and the only thing that matters, is that he, with the form of his language, asserts that this quake has the potential...whether or not the damage was done or people were hurt. And he asserts nothing else. No feelings, no moods, no times, nothin' else.

Larry Latham


Hello,
I am the John Bellini in the quote mentioned above. I work for the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado as a geophysicist (not a geologist Wink ).

I freely admit I am not the most eloquent speaker on the planet, nor am I a linguist. However, Larry's analysis of what was quoted is correct. I also believe that I may have said something in between both sentences that was left out.

You have to understand the nature of the beast...and the situation one is placed in during a telephone interview. Much of it is 'off the cuff' so to speak and/or on live radio or television. This particular interview was also over the telephone. There is a bit of pressure on the individual participating in such an interview and one does not always speak as well as they would hope to. Also, I have discovered over the years that when speaking to the press they tend to prefer short and to-the-point sound bytes. Because of this preference many people change the format of how they speak. I know I do.

Feel free to analyze my 'press' speach...or what I have typed above. I find it (linguistics) fascinating. If you want to see more of the many quotes that are floating out there in the digital nether, do a google search with the format ( earthquake "John Bellini" ). You will find many more awkward quotes and paraphrases that I have spoken over the last six years. There are even a couple of wav files out there of my actual and awkward speaking voice from around 2001.

John Bellini


Last edited by Kugellager on Fri May 27, 2011 2:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!!!
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, I hope you didn't mind me calling you "this guy" several times in the above "discussion", Mr/Dr/VIP Bellini! Embarassed Laughing

But yeah, what a surprise, I thought, "Who the hell is digging this old thread back up after all this time?"! Razz

Larry is one of the best writers on Dave's, John. He is the linguistic equivalent of a male silverback gorilla in its prime (whispered as an aside: Don't tell John this, guys, but I added that bit of biological terminology to lend a veneer of scientific respectability to the forum). Very Happy
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a pleasure it is to have the source of a quote in a newspaper article contact us directly. Thank you, John. A double thank you from me, since you have confirmed my thoughts, but even without that you'd be welcome. And please come back.
Very Happy
Larry Latham

I do have a question: How in the world did you run across our conversation about your interview?


Last edited by LarryLatham on Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:07 am; edited 2 times in total
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fluffy wrote:
Larry is one of the best writers on Dave's, John.

Damn, Dunc! Embarassed This is really too much. Especially coming from "Professor" Fluffyhamster! And I've been feeling lately that I've run out of things to say. You guys have pretty much heard my whole wad. Now I'm going to be forced to repeat myself ad infinitum until the lot of you throw me out. (But thanks, anyway, for the accolade Wink ).

Larry Latham
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I am the John Bellini in the quote mentioned above


A real example where the follows a proper name Very Happy, that's going to my English database.

Josť
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3003
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't R.A. Close discuss examples such as the Shakespeare (that) we studied at school (in contrast to how the Bard is now taught), Jose? That is, you can probably find more examples of 'the' preceding people's names in relative clauses (which share a similar "identifying" function to John's opening sentence there).
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Kugellager



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 5
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LarryLatham wrote:
I do have a question: How in the world did you run across our conversation about your interview?


I actually stumbled across it inadvertently. I came across the link to this site while searching for a news article my mother had seen. No matter how many times she has seen me quoted it is still exciting to her.

I must admit when the link popped open that I was a little disconcerted to find each and every word that I spoke was being so thoroughly analyzed. Then as I read on and continued to read other threads I found that all of this was very interesting. Of course I had to reply.

I must say that I am glad fluffyhamster came across that quote rather than some of the others I have seen out there. Rolling Eyes

It's really amazing how foolish a poor quote or paraphrase can make you sound...even if the non-expert doesn't know the difference.

John

P.S. Just call me John or Kuge(Kug)...I only have an MS..no PhD. I wouldn't want to be called Dr. if I did anyway. Wink
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LarryLatham



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1195
Location: Aguanga, California (near San Diego)

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK John. It's great to see you back.

Quote:
No matter how many times she has seen me quoted it is still exciting to her.

Well, I can't blame her for feeling that way. My oldest son is just finishing the coursework on his Ph.D. and when he starts being quoted in the papers, I'll probably have the articles framed for my walls. Smile

Larry Latham
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