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"Even I" vs. "I also"

Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Back in the olden days we used to have these big books called "dictionaries," which are basically big old lists of words. They told you exactly what a group of smart people thought each word meant. I think I even have one around here somewhere... (/me blows away the dust) *cough* here it is! It's a big old red one, "Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition (1966)." It says that "even" means, among other things, "used as an intensive or emphatic particle emphasizing the limit of what is possible or probable." Under "also", it says "likewise; too; besides; in addition". Note that the definitions differ, and neither one references the other as a synonym. Also note that they describe exactly the meanings that have been mentioned in this thread. You don't need to insert "Master of the Universe" -- it's implied.

Things change, and in particular, languages can drift. Communities can assign new meanings to words (using "bad" to mean "good", as young folks did in the US in the 1970's, is a commonly cited example.) But when this happens, there is friction and miscommunication. In this particular case, I think Indian English usage is going to regress to the mean -- it's going to cleave closer to English as spoken in the rest of the world as time passes, and the standard meanings of "doubt", "even", etc, will be restored.


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fred rosenberger
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  16

"Even I" is a perfectly good synonym of "I also".
That may be true in the Indian dialect of English, but not in the American dialect. Personally, I think BOTH are correct, but you have to realize that there IS a difference before you can accound for the difference. I think that's the entire point of this thread - to point out some subtle differences between the two, to help avoid misunderstandings in the future.


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Devesh H Rao
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Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:
That may be true in the Indian dialect of English,


It is not.

Originally posted by Fred Rosenberger:
I think that's the entire point of this thread - to point out some subtle differences between the two, to help avoid misunderstandings in the future.


Appreciate the effort.
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Devesh H Rao ]
Devesh H Rao
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Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:


I don't get it. "Even I" is a perfectly good synonym of "I also". The problem is that the listener is assigning an emotional component to "Even I" so that the listener understands the phrase to be much more than what the writer has written. The problem is with the listener , not the speaker. It doesn't matter if most people (that you know of) apply the same emotional component as you do. The fact that the speaker didn't say "Even I, the Master of the Universe, couldn't solve this problem" means that the listener cannot assume that the speaker meant that. If the speaker wanted to say "Even I, the Master of the Universe, couldn't solve this problem", he would have said "Even I, the Master of the Universe, couldn't solve this problem". It "sounds arrogant" because the listener is filling in words that haven't been said. Why are you faulting the speaker because the listener is hearing things that haven't been said?


I don't get it. "Even I" is a perfectly good synonym of "I also".

No they are not perfectly good synonym .... the words do not even mean the same...


Also - used in "similar" situations
Even - used for �emphasis�


The problem is with the listener , not the speaker.

Communication is about what you say, effective communication is what the other person understands. So if something is misunderstood the cause may be due to inability to comprehend or inability to express.

Why are you faulting the speaker because the listener is hearing things that haven't been said?

The listener is just trying to point out a thing which he feels, to accept it at face value or reject it is still the speakers prerogative.


I do think that there are some imperfections in the nuances of the English language as spoken by Indians, but it is not something which is unexpected as for most of us English is a 3'rd or a 4'th language. Even those schooled in English medium rarely use the language as a conversation channel at home or with family so the ease, grammar or the diction leaves some gaps.

I personally am not affronted when I stand corrected correctly, as it is in fact a learning which improves something which I lack. Speaking from a personal experience of mine, I used to write �I will do the same� in mails when requested to follow up on a task or something similar. It was pointed out to me by one of my clients to be incorrect usage and asked to elaborate on the same part so as to not leave any questions on the implicit part. I guess that was a learning just as some of the things in this thread.

I welcome the effort on part of folks in here as it improves our knowledge about something which is not central to our lives and hence something which may not get corrected ever.
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Devesh H Rao ]
Devesh H Rao
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:



Now, to continue the topic: another one I see a lot, and I find fascinating, is "Hai" to mean "Hi" (a form of "Hello".)


It may well have to do with the phonetics of devnagri script.

Devnagari - Wiki

Hi as pronounced in hindi which derives from devnagri script would be h[ह ] the consonant and ai[ऐ ] the vowel..
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Devesh H Rao ]
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:


It may well have to do with the phonetics of devnagri script.


Cool! Thanks!
Jim Yingst
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[Fred]: That may be true in the Indian dialect of English, but not in the American dialect.

Also not in the UK or Australia, based on earlier responses in this thread.

Jayesh, if you can find an online dictionary somewhere that shows "even" as a synonym for "also", I'm sure we'd be interested to see it. The meaning that native speakers are inferring here is found at dictionary.com (#16), Merriam-Webster (adverb -> 2b) and the American Heritage Dictionary (adverb -> 1c). We're not making this up. Really.


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Ulf Dittmer
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  65
Solveig said:
Also, regarding double negatives: they can be useful and add meaning. Yes, Strunk and White would probably like to cut off my right hand for saying something like "It's not unflattering," the meaning is subtly different from "It's flattering."


To which Frank responded:
That's not what people mean by double-negative, since removal of either of them changes the meaning. We're talking about _redundant_ negatives, as in saying to a childless woman, "Du hast nicht keine Kinder!" ("You ain't got no kids!")

Do any Germans talk like that?


No, they don't, apart from some regional dialects, e.g. in Bavaria.

But the analogy between the two examples doesn't quite hold, because something can be neither flattering nor unflattering, while it's not possible to have kids and not have kids at the same time. Kind of like Boolean logic vs. fuzzy logic.


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Jim Yingst
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[EFH]: Now, to continue the topic: another one I see a lot, and I find fascinating, is "Hai" to mean "Hi" (a form of "Hello".) I think it's interesting because the dipthong "ai" isn't used much in English, and so I'm not positive why people use it to spell "Hi". My theory is that this is influenced by "Hai", the rōmaji spelling of the Japanese word for "yes".

"Hi" is also a loanword in Mandarin Chinese, and is rendered in Pinyin as "hai". Similarly "bye-bye" becomes "baibai". I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me if this occurs in other Asian languages as well.

Also, the idea of using "ai" to indicate the sound of "eye" makes sense in Spanish or Italian as well. There, "a" is generally like "a" in "father" rather than "a" in "sand". And "i" is either like "e" in "he", or "i" in "it". So if we take the sounds of "a" in father, followed by "e" in "he", "ai" indicates ah-ee which can be run together quickly to become the sound of "eye".

So I can imagine there are quite a few Spanish speakers and Chinese speakers in the US and elsewhere who might recognize "hai" in a chatroom.
Bert Bates
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    5
EFH:

"cleave" was an interesting choice of words...

Did you mean cleave as in to hack apart with a cleaver or
cleave as in how a barnacle attachs itself to a ship?

And while we're at it, there's another word that begins with "cl" that also has the same opposite meanings, i.e. either to split or to attach...


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Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
EFH:

"cleave" was an interesting choice of words...

Did you mean cleave as in to hack apart with a cleaver or
cleave as in how a barnacle attachs itself to a ship?


More that barnacle one: one dictionary meaning is "to be faithful: cleave to one's principles." Wanna talk about the word "inflammable?"
Jim Yingst
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[Bert]: And while we're at it, there's another word that begins with "cl" that also has the same opposite meanings, i.e. either to split or to attach...

Clip? I can clip papers together, or I can clip my nails.
Bert Bates
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    5
"bingo", clip is it!
Raghavan Muthu
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Irrespective of the geographical location and the custom usage of the language, i do agree with Bert as his point seems to be valid!

"Even I" seems to be superlative than that of "I also!"

In the situation of mentioning the answers being wrong, i would prefer to say, "For me also, that was wrong!" . Hope it makes sense and does not get deviated!

Though we may be aware of the meaning not but the seriousness behind the scenes, we may tend to use it in our daily life. Thank you Bert for pointing out and giving the Ranchers (whoever agrees) to correct themselves!!
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Raghavan Muthu ]

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Dave Lenton
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Another common misuse of a phrase I have heard is to say "I don't care" when "I don't mind" is intended. The difference may appear subtle, but it is not.


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Raghavan Muthu
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In that case, sometimes i have come across the word "ahead of" has been represented with "before" !

Similar scenarios and usages are aplenty!
Ulf Dittmer
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  65
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Another common misuse of a phrase I have heard is to say "I don't care" when "I don't mind" is intended. The difference may appear subtle, but it is not.


That's good one. Thinking about it now, it's clear what the difference is. But I had never thought about it, so I would have used those interchangeably. Or actually, I've probably used "I don't care" exclusively, just because it's the more common of the two.

One more thing to try to remember...
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Raghavan Muthu:
In that case, sometimes i have come across the word "ahead of" has been represented with "before" !


Actually, I can't think of a case where these have different meanings. English is full of synonyms; there are usually many equivalent but different ways to say any simple thing.
Amit Batra
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I haven't read much of what is being said. But from what I gather this "even I" must be a really big deal on the internet as googling the phrase returned 1,080,000,000 results. . I think I'm going to check my email instead.
Amit Batra
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Now that Ive been thinking about this a little, I find it really interesting. There is no denying that the phrase has been used inappropriately, not just by Indian ranchers but as I cited in the post above the phrase "Even I" brings up a staggering amount of results, and I think it is safe to accept, that all instances are not in the correct context. Having said that, commenting on what what is being debated here, I am trying to find reason for this peculiarity If we are to assume for a minute "Even I" as being a synonym for "I also" or "I as well", which is what the Indian ranchers are being pointed out for doing. It still doesn't make sense to me. I think its safe to assume that those using "Even I" in the context we are discussing are all thinking in Hindi, at least true for North Indians and definitely if English isn't your first language. What strikes me as odd is that way to say "Even I" would be "mein bhi" in Hindi(is this also the same in other indian languages?). Word for word this would translate to "me also". Yet as has been said a number of times now, for some reason people in this part of the world favour using the word "even" when communicating with other English speakers instead of "also" which is supposed to lay emphasis on being equal or at par with the situation others are in. Or does it? My take on this is that using the word "also" like "even" also requires the writer to use it in conjunction with "I", but in this case("I also") the "I" would have to be placed first. Indian culture being like most Asian cultures in terms of its expectations to conformity and putting group before individual to a point where the individual is often negated at the cost of affirming kinship with society, leads me to think that any phrase that requires the use a phrase where "I" is to be involved, would perhaps make us a bit watchful. Particularly where interactions with native speakers of the English language is concerned. It sounds rather strange I know, but I came across a great quote that said "words are the chameleon which reflect the colour of the environment", it somehow makes sense to me. My take on this is that Indians,Asians in an attempt to perhaps maintain that harmony with the social group at some deep emotional level resort to "Even I" as an attempt to perhaps to not disturb that fabric?.(probably also why most Indian men prefer to have moustaches). It just may be that the use (albeit incorrect) of "Even I" may have undercurrents and being used precisely for reasons the opposite of what is being proposed. It would be interesting to get a view from speakers of other Asian countries where preference to conformity over individuality has always been favoured. Reminds me of an old Japanese adage that goes "the nail that stands out gets hammered down." . I'm no linguist or Anthropologist so this could all just be complete non sense
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Another common misuse of a phrase I have heard is to say "I don't care" when "I don't mind" is intended. The difference may appear subtle, but it is not.
"I don't care" means "It doesn't matter to me (for better or worse)." You could use both in situations where the "it" is potentially positive and for situations where "it" is potentially negative.

"I don't mind" means "I do not find it objectionable." The answer speaks only to the potential undesirability of "it".

Example of use with a potential negative: "Would it bother you if I smoke?" You could answer either: "I don't care (whether you smoke)" or "I don't mind (if you smoke)." Both answers reassure the reader that you will not view his smoking negatively.

Example of use with a potential positive: "Would you like the red balloon or the blue one?" "I don't care (which balloon I get)" states the absence of a preference, and is therefore a reasonable answer. "I don't mind (getting either a red balloon or a blue one)" merely confirms questioner's expectation that getting a balloon (of any color) is not a bad thing, but does not inform the question as to which color balloon, if any, you consider to be the _better_ good thing. It provides no new information, and therefore is a non-answer.

Now, the speaker may deduce that, having foregone the opportunity to give a preference, perhaps you do not have one. But why make him guess this?
[ June 22, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Dave Lenton
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I think "I don't care" can also, in some situations, imply a kind of contempt for the question.

If someone said to me "I can make you a sandwich. Would you like cheese or ham?", and I replied "I don't mind", I think that implies "either sandwich would be fine". On the other hand, if I replied "I don't care" it could imply "Your offer is unimportant, it makes no difference to me what sandwich you decide to make".

OK, so logically they are pretty much the same, but "I don't care" would be a more insulting reply to an offer like that then "I don't mind". I would certainly consider "I don't care" to be a rude thing to say in that situation.

Perhaps it is a cultural thing though. It could have a different emphasis in different places.
Frank Silbermann
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I think "I don't care" can also, in some situations, imply a kind of contempt for the question.

If someone said to me "I can make you a sandwich. Would you like cheese or ham?", and I replied "I don't mind", I think that implies "either sandwich would be fine". On the other hand, if I replied "I don't care" it could imply "Your offer is unimportant, it makes no difference to me what sandwich you decide to make".

OK, so logically they are pretty much the same, but "I don't care" would be a more insulting reply to an offer like that then "I don't mind". I would certainly consider "I don't care" to be a rude thing to say in that situation.

Perhaps it is a cultural thing though. It could have a different emphasis in different places.
Yes, it's a cultural thing. In America, no one would answer "I don't mind" because it means "I am not against it" which is not an appropriate answer to the question. "I don't care" would not be considered contemptuous unless it was said in a contemptuous manner.
Dave Lenton
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I guess we really are, like Churchill/Shaw said, "two countries divided by a common language".

There's some interesting differences listed here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_words_having_different_meanings_in_British_and_American_English

At least "don't care" and "don't mind" have similar meanings. It seems the phrase "let's table the motion" has completely opposite meanings in Britain ("raise for consideration") and in America ("suspend from consideration"). I can imagine that causing a few misunderstandings in business conversations.
Rashid Mayes
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This thread reminded me of an NPR story on autoantonyms, words with two opposite meanings. And example from the link below is "sanction" which can meant "to endorse; authorise" or "a punitive action."

There are some examples here: http://www.fun-with-words.com/nym_autoantonyms.html
[ June 27, 2007: Message edited by: Rashid Mayes ]

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R K Singh
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Originally posted by Amitabha Batranab:
Now that Ive been ....I'm no linguist or Anthropologist so this could all just be complete non sense


Its not readable at all.
Please put line breaks.


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Solveig Laura Haugland
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quote riginally posted by Solveig Laura Haugland:
I got a French major, lived there for seven months, and pretty much suck at it since French to my very Germanic brain all sounds like "eugheux".

>> Maybe you should try learning the Geneva dialect. My wife says Geneva French is very Germanic.

Anything less French is better. ;> I actually think I picked up Norwegian somewhat easily when I was there, or at least less uneasily ;> than French. If only I'd learned Norwegian like my parents wanted me to.

quote:
Also, regarding double negatives: they can be useful and add meaning. Yes, Strunk and White would probably like to cut off my right hand for saying something like "It's not unflattering," the meaning is subtly different from "It's flattering."

>> That's not what people mean by double-negative, since removal of either of them changes the meaning. We're talking about _redundant_ negatives, as in saying to a childless woman, "Du hast nicht keine Kinder!" ("You ain't got no kids!")

Oh, gotcha. Yes. Well, the next time anyone gives me a hard time about double negatives for doing that, I will tell them they ain't got no understanding of double negatives.


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subject: "Even I" vs. "I also"