Feb 6, 2011

1984, Here we come . . or

 . . a step towards Newspeak!

I'll say no more than 'have a look at THIS!' One the one hand, you can have a good old snigger at the sort of thing linguists and practitioners of semantics get up to in the interests of absolute precision. On the other hand, you might try shaking in your shoes when you weigh up the effect THIS could have on your poetry and stories - which are "expository" writings that depend on creating associations as much as on conveying "meaning" - whatever "meaning" means!

Here's an example. In E-prime, you are not allowed to say "The daffodil is yellow." Why not?  Because the sentence does not directly imply a sentient being OBSERVING the daffodil, and since "yellow" exists in the mind of such an observer and NOT in the daffodil, the sentence (to E-prime philosopher-linguists and associated lunatics) is meaningless! Ooerrrrr!
Now translate this well known bit of poetry into E-prime.

"To be or not to be, that is the question"


  1. I am interested in this!
    Incidentally - speakers of Hebrew eschew the present tense parts of the verb 'To Be' because of biblical rules about not saying the name of God - which is 'I Am' (pronounced Jaweh / Jehovah - hence the old expression... 'All I said was that piece of fish would be good enough for Jehovah!').
    So there.

  2. 'The question of whether I should decide to exist or not, continues to remain unanswered'. Shite poetry.
    BUT, how many times have you been offered an opinion in the form of a proven fact, as in 'Arsenal has the best players'?
    We need a fact/opinion language rule to filter this nonsense. Anyway, everyone knows the best players are in Liverpool!

  3. E-prime, this seems like it would make a good writing exercise but not make good writing. however, if you can write well in E-Prime maybe you are more talented than others had given you credit for.

  4. E-prime is supposed to be an useful tool for removing subjectivity from writing which should be unbiased and objective, as in scientific papers. I agree with Jhon Baker - good writing exercise, but not a formula for good writing.

    Stafford - another "translation" might be "To exist, or not to exist. I ask myself that question." Hard to know which of our translations is better shite! (Mine's shorter!)


Thank you for stopping by. To make life easier for you I have turned off the new indecipherable and time-wasting verification words. Would you care to "feedback" to Blogger and complain about them, like I did?