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Wow again!

Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:20 am
by revel
Hey everyone!

I have to admit, the sudden appearance of John here to talk about what he meant in that quoted sentence is one of the most interesting things that has happened in Dave´s in a good long time. It's better than CONTEXTMAN offering up his explanations, it is the real context slapping us analists (or should that be "we analists" ?¿?¿) awake! We have a real celebrity among us!

Enthusiasm aside, I also welcome John and his insights. How very apt, in these days after the planetary disaster in that seemingly far-away part of the world, that we would have stimulated him to speak up and clear up our doubts.


Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:57 pm
by Kugellager
Thanks for all the welcoming replys.

The more I read in these forums, the more I learn and realize that my own observations on how people speak follow many of the basic premises which all of you seem to follow. A lot of the terminology escapes me. But, I would imagine it would be the same if you stumbled onto an earthquake or scorpion forum of some sort.

Another tidbit of background information I'd like to share on the original quotes in the thread origin: I spoke to the reporter on the phone for 5-10 minutes...and yet he only used those two quotes. There was much more background information that was asked leading up to the two lines under scrutiny. I can see how these two lines, taken out of the context of the entire conversation with the reporter, might be a challenge to fully comprehend for a non-native speaker.

I believe, based on my reply, that the reporter had asked me something to the effect "what class is this earthquake" to which I replied "This is considered a major earthquake" and then added what I knew an earthquake of that size was capable of. I also knew that because this particular earthquake was just off the coast of northeastern Hokkaido that there would be little damage due to the sparse population...which the reporter paraphrased later on but did not quote. This I have noticed is typical of the sesationalization (Is that a real word?) of a newsworthy event in the media at present. They take the potentially most exciting or most scary ideas and marginalize the reality of the situation. In this case it was that even though this particular earthquake was large it was not really going to do anything bad.

Another thing to note about me calling the earthquake a "major earthquake". Much like the Fujita scale for tornadoes and the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes, we (USGS) have an unnamed scale for earthquakes.

Great 8.0+
Major 7.0-7.9
Strong 6.0-6.9
Moderate 5.0-5.9
Light 4.0-4.9
Minor 3.0-3.9
Very Minor or Micro 2.9 and smaller

I think now you will have a little better idea as to the context I was answering the reporters questions.

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading the linguistic discussions on this forum. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up some of the terminology...and maybe finally figure out how to diagram a sentence...I was horrible at it in school. :lol:


Posted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:35 pm
by fluffyhamster
Here is the Hamster scale for earthquakes:

Sniff sniff: Hamster notices cage wheel is shaking and spinning very slowly. Cute little eyes bulge not only at sight of lights wobbling on ceiling, but at humans walking around (some of whom might not have noticed anything).

Squeak: Hamster starts vocalizing, like the humans now are (yup, they've noticed the quake alright!). Dried sunflower seeds and nuts are rattling in dish, and water dispenser maybe releases a few pent-up drops.

SQUEAK!: Hamster scurries into plastic house as things start to fall onto cage. Humans b*gger off without stopping to whisk hamster to safety.

<<SPLAT>>: Hamster cage gets squashed flat by falling masonry and bumper packs of sawdust. Hamster stands a good chance of surviving and escaping to freedom!


Hey, John, I was thinking, maybe you can forget worrying about "constituency" and needing to make pretty tree diagrams of grammar (it's one part of e.g. The Grammar Book that I find little use for, I don't want to adopt any aspect of TG theory), interesting though all that is, and go instead for a "linear" grammar like the one the late David Brazil presents in his A Grammar of Speech. One of Brazil's colleagues was John Sinclair, so there are links to be sure with Corpus Linguistics, another area of great potential interest and help to any budding linguist. 8)

But the "essential reading" for Dave's seems to be Mikhail Gorbachev's The Russian Verb. :wink:

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:21 am
by woodcutter
So you see John, this hamster chap who suggested you had problems with your tenses has his own problems with verbal diarrheoa and pragmatics. :wink:

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:43 am
by fluffyhamster
This hamster may have diarrheoa (sic) but at least he is not always straining to force something out (no matter how painful the straining, and small and dry the end result, may be) every time he feels the urge to "let rip". 8)

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:52 pm
by fluffyhamster
Anyway, I think I get what you're driving at there about the "problems with pragmatics, woody, but ultimately I'm just trying to make conversation here (e.g. Do you and/or your students think that plain, linear text is enough, or do you find additional methods such as the following useful: grammar tree diagrams, bracketing, arrows sprouting from the tops of and bouncing along the words in the sentence, stains from the bottom of coffee mugs, hamster or dog teethmarks etc.

I like this picture: ... 01786.html

Please feel free to continue talking about earthquakes, if you'd prefer! :wink:

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:22 am
by woodcutter
Darn. I was sure I had 'diarrhoea' down by now! If I was American I would never have had any bother with it.

Let's try and summon some other people. I'll begin.....

Hey! CNN sportscaster Terry Badoo! Stop raising your voice in faux excitement when merely describing a goal some time after the event! Keep your stiff upper lip, old chap.

Stumbled Upon Again

Posted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:29 pm
by Kugellager
First response of members here: "Who the hell resurrected a six year old thread?"

So I noticed a large influx of spam into one of e-mail accounts and figured I would do a Google search on my e-mail address to see what was out there.

Of the four search results in Google, this one popped up and I was reminded of that odd time (SIX YEARS AGO - WOW!) that I found a bunch of word nerds (not meant in a bad way) analyzing a news quotes from my awkward self.

As you can see there is has been no improvement. :roll:



John Bellini

P.S I removed my e-mail from the offending post just in case the spam-bots grabbed it from here.

Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 7:35 pm
by fluffyhamster
Hello again, John. :) Been any big "jelly wobblers" or "sheep scarers" (the latest terms for 'eathquake' in Mummerset, ooh arr!) recently? Anyway, I'm sure you could've removed your email without anyone really noticing, but it's always nice to have reasonably interesting or fun threads resurrected, and to hear from previous posters. :D

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:05 am
by LarryLatham
Hi John,

Nice to see you again.

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:30 pm
by Lorikeet
And nice to see you, Larry!

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:03 pm
by Sally Olsen
My thoughts exactly.