List of linguistic example sentences

Via wikipedia – List of linguistic example sentences

From the “grammar is fun” section of wikipedia, the page includes sentences that explain:

Lexical ambiguity:
Will Will will Will’s will to Will? (Will Will [a person] will [bequeath] Will’s [second person] will [a document] to Will [a third person]? Alternatively, “Will Will will Will’s will?” Also, why do all these guys name Will know each other and can’t someone go by Bill and someone by William? Or maybe Larry?)

Syntactic ambiguity:
I saw the man with the binoculars. (Who has the binoculars? Me, or the man?)

Syntactic ambiguity, incrementality, and Local Coherence:
The boat floated down the river sank. (As in – the boat which had been floated down the river sank.)

Scope ambiguity and anaphora resolution:
Somewhere in Britain, some woman has a child every thirty seconds. (Every thirty seconds, a woman somewhere in Britain has a child. But not the same woman over and over, because that would be really weird.)

Embedding:
The rat the cat the dog bit chased escaped. (The cat the dog bit chased the rat that escaped. I think.)

Order of adjectives:
The red big balloon. (Yeah, why does big always go first?)

Conceit via. Wikipedia

via Wikipedia, Conceit:

In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Extended conceits in English are part of the poetic idiom of Mannerism, during the later sixteenth and early seventeenth century.

Metaphysical conceit

In English literature the term is generally associated with the 17th century metaphysical poets, an extension of contemporary usage. In the metaphysical conceit, metaphors have a much more purely conceptual, and thus tenuous, relationship between the things being compared. Helen Gardner observed that “a conceit is a comparison whose ingenuity is more striking than its justness” and that “a comparison becomes a conceit when we are made to concede likeness while being strongly conscious of unlikeness.” An example of the latter would be George Herbert’s “Praise,” in which the generosity of God is compared to a bottle which (“As we have boxes for the poor”) will take in an infinite amount of the speaker’s tears.

An often-cited example of the metaphysical conceit is the metaphor from John Donne’s “The Flea”, in which a flea that bites both the speaker and his lover becomes a conceit arguing that his lover has no reason to deny him sexually, although they are not married:

Oh stay! three lives in one flea spare
Where we almost, yea more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage-bed and marriage-temple is.

When Sir Philip Sidney begins a sonnet with the conventional idiomatic expression “My true-love hath my heart and I have his”, but then takes the metaphor literally and teases out a number of literal possibilities and extravagantly playful conceptions in the exchange of hearts, the result is a fully formed conceit.

Estoppel – Wikipedia

From Wikipedia: Estoppel.

Estoppel in its broadest sense is a legal term referring to a series of legal and equitable doctrines that preclude “a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has, in contemplation of law, been established as the truth, either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers, or by his own deed, acts, or representations, either express or implied.”

Because estoppel is so factually dependent, it is perhaps best understood by considering specific examples such as the following:

Example 1: A city entered into a contract with another party. The contract stated that it had been reviewed by the city’s counsel and that the contract was proper. Estoppel applied to estop the city from claiming the contract was invalid.

Example 2: A creditor unofficially informs a debtor that the creditor forgives the debt between them. Even if such forgiveness is not formally documented, the creditor may be estopped from changing its mind and seeking to collect the debt, because that change would be unfair.

Example 3: A landlord informs a tenant that rent has been reduced, for example, because there was construction or a lapse in utility services. If the tenant relies on this statement in choosing to remain in the premises, the landlord could be estopped from collecting the full rent.

‘Azimuth’ via Wikipedia

via: Azimuth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

An azimuth i/ˈæzɪməθ/; from Arabic السمت as‑samt, meaning “a way, a part, or quarter” is an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer origin to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane is called the azimuth.An example is the position of a star in the sky. The star is the point of interest, the reference plane is the horizon or the surface of the sea, and the reference vector points north. The azimuth is the angle between the north vector and the perpendicular projection of the star down onto the horizon. Azimuth is usually measured in degrees °. The concept is used in navigation, astronomy, engineering, mapping, mining and artillery.

Wikipedia Is Quietly Moving Women Off Their American Novelist Page

From Jezebel: Wikipedia Is Quietly Moving Women Off Their American Novelist Page

If you go to Wikipedia’s page for American Novelists, you might notice something strange: Of the first 100 authors listed, only a small handful of them are women. You could potentially blame this on the fact that there simply are more famous male authors than there are female (a-whole-nother can of worms), but the real reasoning is much more intentional. Wikipedia editors have slowly been moving female authors to a subcategory called American Women Novelists so that the original list isn’t at risk of “becoming too large.” Bad luck, ladies. They need to make room and someone has to go first. Why shouldn’t it be unimportant literary folk like Harper Lee, Harriet Beecher Stowe or Louisa May Alcott?

Novelist Amanda Filipacchi was the one who — very recently — first cottoned on to what Wikipedia was doing. The edits, she noticed, have been happening gradually and mostly alphabetically by last name though in a few special cases the editors jumped ahead because they just couldn’t wait for R and T to get Ayn Rand and Donna Tartt off the list. Filipacchi herself was one of the authors to get booted to the subcategory.

More reporting on this:

Wikipedia’s Sexism Toward Female Novelists [New York Times]

“American women novelists” segregated by Wikipedia [Salon]

‘The Wild Hunt’ via wikipedia

via Wikipedia, the Wild Hunt:

The Wild Hunt is an ancient folk myth prevalent across Northern, Western and Central Europe. The fundamental premise in all instances is the same: a phantasmal, spectral group of huntsmen with the accoutrements of hunting, with horses and hounds in mad pursuit across the skies or along the ground, or just above it.

The hunters may be the dead or the fairies (often in folklore connected with the dead). The hunter may be an unidentified lost soul, a deity or spirit of either gender, or may be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd or the Germanic Woden (or other reflections of the same god, such as Alemannic Wuodan in Wuotis Heer (“Wuodan’s Army”) of Central Switzerland, Swabia etc.)

‘Beasts of battle’ via Wikipedia

Via wikipedia: Beasts of battle:

The Beasts of battle is a poetic trope in Old English and Old Norse literature. It consists of the wolf, the raven, and the eagle, traditional animals accompanying the warriors to feast on the bodies of the slain. It occurs in eight Old English poems and in the Old Norse Poetic Edda.

The term originates with Francis Peabody Magoun, who first used it in 1955, although the combination of the three animals was first considered a theme by Maurice Bowra, in 1952.

The beasts of battle presumably date from an earlier, Germanic tradition; the animals are well known for eating carrion. A mythological connection may be presumed as well, though it is clear that at the time that the Old English manuscripts were produced, in a Christianized England, there was no connection between for instance the raven and Huginn and Muninn or the wolf and Geri and Freki. This mythological and/or religious connection survived for much longer in Scandinavia.

‘The Ancient of Days’, ‘Thumos’ via wikipedia

via wikipedia:

The Ancient of Days
The title “Ancient of Days” has been used as a source of inspiration in art and music, denoting the Creator’s aspects of eternity combined with perfection. William Blake’s watercolour and relief etching entitled “The Ancient of Days” is one such example.

421px-Blake_ancient_of_days.jpg

The Ancient of Days is the title of a design by William Blake, originally published as the frontispiece to a 1794 work, Europe a Prophecy. It shows a figure, the Ancient of Days, crouching in a circular design with a cloud-like background. His out-stretched hand holds a compass over the darker void below. As noted in Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake, the design was “a singular favourite with Blake and as one it was always a happiness to him to copy.” As such there are many versions of the work extant, including one completed for Frederick Tatham only weeks before Blake’s death.

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Thumos

Thumos (also commonly spelled “thymos”) (Greek: θυμός) is an Ancient Greek word expressing the concept of “spiritedness” (as in “spirited stallion” or “spirited debate”). The word indicates a physical association with breath or blood. The word is also used to express the human desire for recognition.

In Homer’s works, thumos was used to denote emotions, desire, or an internal urge. Thumos was a permanent possession of living man, to which his thinking and feeling belonged. When a Homeric hero is under emotional stress he may externalize his thumos, conversing with it or scolding it.

Biomimicry, the law of unintended consequences, Chinese water torture

Via wikipedia:

Biomimicry

Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry and biomimetics come from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. Similar terms include bionics.

Law of unintended consequences

In the social sciences, unintended consequences (sometimes unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) are outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton. Unintended consequences can be roughly grouped into three types:

  • A positive, unexpected benefit (usually referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).
  • A negative, unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy (e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).
  • A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse)

Chinese water torture

Chinese water torture is a process in which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly driving the restrained victim insane. This form of torture was first described under a different name by Hippolytus de Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century.

The term “Chinese water torture” may have arisen from Chinese Water Torture Cell (a feat of escapology introduced in Berlin at Circus Busch September 13, 1910; the escape entailed Houdini being bound and suspended upside-down in a locked glass and steel cabinet full to overflowing with water, from which he escaped), together with the Fu Manchu stories of Sax Rohmer that were popular in the 1930s (in which Fu Manchu subjected his victims to various ingenious tortures, such as the wired jacket). Hippolytus de Marsiliis is credited with the invention of a form of water torture. Having observed how drops of water falling one by one on a stone gradually created a hollow, he applied the method to the human body. Other suggestions say that the term “Chinese water torture” was invented merely to grant the method a sense of ominous mystery.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor: one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything. Via Wikipedia:

Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a problem-solving principle devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.

The application of the principle can be used to shift the burden of proof in a discussion. However, Alan Baker, who suggests this in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is careful to point out that his suggestion should not be taken generally, but only as it applies in a particular context, that is: philosophers who argue in opposition to metaphysical theories that involve allegedly “superfluous ontological apparatus”. Baker then notices that principles, including Occam’s Razor, are often expressed in a way that is not clear regarding which facet of “simplicity” — parsimony or elegance — is being referred to, and that in a hypothetical formulation the facets of simplicity may work in different directions: a simpler description may refer to a more complex hypothesis, and a more complex description may refer to a simpler hypothesis.

Solomonoff’s theory of inductive inference is a mathematically formalized Occam’s Razor: Shorter computable theories have more weight when calculating the probability of the next observation, using all computable theories which perfectly describe previous observations.

In science, Occam’s Razor is used as a heuristic (discovery tool) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models rather than as an arbiter between published models. In the scientific method, Occam’s Razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible and more complex alternatives, because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypothesis to prevent them from being falsified; therefore, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are better testable and falsifiable.

‘Cambrian Explosion’

Remember when you were a kid, and all of the sudden, for no apparent reason, you shot up several inches one summer? Like growth wasn’t a slow, glacial process but an abrupt one? Sort of like some of the theories on evolution that suggest mutations aren’t as gradual as we think. (A Cambrian Explosion, per Jim C.)

Although, when you look closely at the theories, the idea of a real ‘explosion’ is probably a misnomer:

The Cambrian explosion, or Cambrian radiation, was the relatively rapid appearance, around 542 million years ago, of most major animal phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record.[1][2] This was accompanied by major diversification of other organisms.[note 1] Before about 580 million years ago,[note 2] most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years, the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude[note 3] and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.[5] All present phyla appeared within the first 20 million years of the period,[6] with the exception of Bryozoa who made its earliest known appearance in the upper Cambrian.[7]