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What the hell are you trying to say?

Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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I am reading "Godel, Echer, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstadter. (Actually this is the fifth time I am reading it.) There is a chapter titled, "The Location of Meaning" which deals with the question of how we understand a message. Reading it made me think of the many problems we have with understanding each other in MD.
Hofstadter talks about three levels of information in a message. They are the (1) frame message, (2) outer message, and (3) inner message.
The inner message is the message that we think of as having the actual meaning of the message. "To understand the inner message is to have extracted the meaning intended by the sender". The frame message is the part of the message that lets us know that it is a message that needs to be decoded. For example, this very post is made up of letters and spaces arranged in a certain way that tell you that this post is a message that needs to be decoded. Even if you didn't understand English, you would guess that this is a message based on its form. If you found something that looked like this:
a a aa aaa aaaaa aaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
you might not deduce that there was a message under it. But there is as it is the Fibonacci sequence. The Egyptian hieroglyphics are a good example of something that was deduced as a message even though no one could translate them until the Rosetta Stone was discovered. The frame message was understood but not the inner or outer message.
The outer message is described by Hofstadter as a set of triggers. The outer message is made up of words, numbers, and symbols which are somehow translated into thoughts in the brain. Those thoughts comprise the inner message. But this is where the problem lies. Obviously the thoughts that are triggered in your brain by reading a message can not be the same thoughts that are triggered in my brain when I read the same message. This is where misunderstandings arise. No matter how perfectly and clearly one writes the outer message, it still must be translated into thoughts to create the inner message. Hofstadter points out that if one perfectly understood the outer message then there would be no need for an inner message as you would have perfect understanding of the person who wrote the message!
This is where we run into trouble in MD:
a: I like Bach.
b: Bach was a cruel and horrible ruler. You must be an awful person if you liked him.
a: What are you talking about? Bach was a composer of fugues who lived in the 1700's.
b: No he was a horrible ruler who lived in the 1400's. You said you liked him therefore you are an awful person!
a: You are an idiot!
b: I hate you!
a: Die you bastard.
and so on...
The problem seems to be, from what I have seen, that no one in MD is ever willing to admit that perhaps they did not properly translate an outer message into an inner message. So from now on I am going to try to be more willing to accept that perhaps I did not perfectly translate the outer message. So when someone refers to "stupid American tourists" I will try not to immediately assume that they are putting down all Americans.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
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Jason Menard
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Die you bastard!
Oh sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Sometimes the best thing you can do for a really ignorant and ill-conceived outer message is respond with an ignorant and ill-conceived inner message.
Joe Pluta
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Posts: 1376
The other problem that occurs is the fact that we often somehow equate intellectual opinions with personal character. This is a very slippery slope. While I'm reasonably certain that nobody here would profess that cannibalism is a good practice, short of that extreme there aren't a lot of opinions that make people inherently "good" or "bad". For example, I know people - people whom I cherish as friends - on both sides of the abortion issue. And that's about as personal and moral a question as you can get.
So I think it's important to try not to make a character judgment based solely on someone's position on an issue. Now this may sound somewhat bizarre coming from me given my recent statements about the "whiny self-indulgent" diaries, but that's a different issue. I was specifically MAKING a character judgment, not doing it as a sort of side effect of the issue at hand.
Of course, making a character judgment is fraught with peril and should be done with all due deliberation, since we rarely know what the other person is thinking and forum posts are a notoriously bad vehicle for indicating intent. I did so in that case because I had only those snippets to go on; I had no way to question them. Thus, my moral gauge is likely to have been too simplistic and thus probably not entirely accurate.
Whereas any moral judgments I make of the posters here in MD are based on careful examination of the crap you all say day in and day out and are undoubtedly 100% accurate .
As are yours of me!
Joe
Mapraputa Is
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Tom: So when someone refers to "stupid American tourists" I will try not to immediately assume that they are putting down all Americans
What are you talking about??? "stupid American tourists" means "those American tourists who are stupid" -- how can it mean that they are putting down all Americans?


Uncontrolled vocabularies
"I try my best to make *all* my posts nice, even when I feel upset" -- Philippe Maquet
David O'Meara
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Joined: Mar 06, 2001
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Find me an American who has never been a tourist.
Seriously though, you gotta give up GEB, that's bad pie.
It makes my head go funny.
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
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Joe: Of course, making a character judgment is fraught with peril and should be done with all due deliberation, since we rarely know what the other person is thinking
Then why did you drive me crazy the whole last weekend?
I knew you did it on purpose!
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
[QB][/QB]

Thanks TP, specially for the last line.
And one point you have missed in your post is the problem of "image".
When we make a image of any person/animal then we follow that image only. Snakes are dangerous. Now we have image that snakes are dangerous, let it be non-venomous snake but I have an image that snake is dangerous so it has to be.
The problem of image, I saw in one of post when someone said that I was calling other person "ass".
It is the real example of framing an image in mind.
Whether we get inner message or not but atleast dont frame a image based on frame/outer message.
What do you get from this post?? Frame, outer or inner message??
OR like most of the time it still seems to be Egyptian hieroglyphics.


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
R K Singh
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Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
"stupid American tourists" means "those American tourists who are stupid" -- how can it mean that they are putting down all Americans?

"stupid American tourists" means "tourists who are american AND who are stupid". [there might be tourists who are american and are not stupid. I am told to read like this .]
Now as being a anti-american I can say anything I want and it will be applied to only those who are doing that or who are they.
[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
Anonymous
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Originally posted by R K Singh:

Now as being a anti-american I can say anything I want and it will be applied to only those who are doing that or who are they.
[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]

who are doing what? Time to rest Ravish
R K Singh
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Originally posted by <Indian Programmer>:

who are doing what? Time to rest Ravish

OK
Al Newman
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Joe Pluta
The other problem that occurs is the fact that we often somehow equate intellectual opinions with personal character. This is a very slippery slope. While I'm reasonably certain that nobody here would profess that cannibalism is a good practice, short of that extreme there aren't a lot of opinions that make people inherently "good" or "bad". For example, I know people - people whom I cherish as friends - on both sides of the abortion issue. And that's about as personal and moral a question as you can get.

I can think of at least one more problem. Recently a couple of professors from a leading University released a study of conservatism, with obvious application to american conservatism. The problem was their input in part. They included Nazis and Facists among their data base. I'm torn between laughter and offense. It's as if I tried to analyze American Liberals in terms of Stalin and Pol Pot, which is obviously ludicrous. Whatever these men were, they are not american liberals!
Unfortunately things like this seem all too typical of the 'thinking' from a part of the US political spectrum. I would reply that before one can defeat one's opponent, one should strive to understand what they really are and not allow one's prejudices to obscure that understanding.....
[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]

SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by R K Singh:
And one point you have missed in your post is the problem of "image".

"Image" is a case of improperly translating the outer message into the inner message. This is the problem when we think we know what the other person is talking about so we end up with an improper translation.
Mapraputa Is
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Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
I said in another thread that this construction of a head noun + some dependent nouns/adjectives must have restrictive sense in any language (although the word order can vary), but this is only formally so. Tom's example with "stupid American tourists" provides some insight. But before we started our deep analyses, some definitions...
Sebastian L´┐Żbner in his "Understanding Semantics" defines three levels of meaning for every utterance.
The meaning of words, phrases and sentences, taken as such, i.e. out of any particular context, in their general sense, constitute expression meaning.
Then, there is utterance meaning -- the meaning of the expression when used in a given context of utterance, fixed reference and truth value. For illustration, I can say "Tom is great!" and since all/most people in this forum know which Tom I refer to, they can decide for themselves if the sentence is true or not. In another utterance situation the same expression can have different meaning. For example, a wife could ask her husband what he thinks about calling their expected child Tom, and he could answer "Tom is great!" -- different meaning.
And finally communicative meaning - the meaning of an utterance as a communicative act in a given social setting. Reusing the last example, I typed, "Tom is great!" to illustrate the definition, but also to please Tom (otherwise I would use "Tom is an idiot" as an example).
Back to our "stupid American tourists". The expression meaning of it is (I am not totally sure) "those tourists who are American and who are stupid.". As for the utterance meaning, I tried to construct some sentences with it, and most likely meaning is that tourists did something wrong because they are stupid, and they are stupid because they are American (don't know the rules or whatever). There is a notion that each American tourist would do the same for the very virtue of being American. So the utterance meaning here is generative rather than restrictive. Maybe this was what Ravish hinted at. The communicative meaning of such an utterance would be to make a speaker and an addressee feel certain affinity and superiority, followed from the fact they are not American.
Now our famous phrase in question that has been made on the first page of the "Read this?" thread and still discussed on the fifth!
They get paid much less, and so contribute much less. Also, there has been a significant push by the biggest Indian visa abusers to rescind the social security tax, thereby reducing our social security pool as well.
The expression meaning as it was said is "visa abusers who are Indians". The utterance meaning of "the biggest Indian visa abusers" is a reference, I suppose, to certain companies. Hard to imagine that any single person can be called "the biggest visa abuser". In other words, not only doesn't it mean that all Indian visa holders are abusers, it dosn't even refer to any single Indian visa holder. The communicative meaning will be better clarified by Joe himself, I'll only say that hopefully nobody believes he said it to denigrate all Indian programmers or visa holders!
So Ravish, Ashok and Sunitha have the point, abstractly speaking. And Joe is right that this point has very little to do with what he said.
Does it help or you are already?
[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Paul Stevens
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But not from what you posted.
Joe Pluta
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From the ever-conscientious Map:
JP: They get paid much less, and so contribute much less. Also, there has been a significant push by the biggest Indian visa abusers to rescind the social security tax, thereby reducing our social security pool as well.
Map: The expression meaning as it was said is "visa abusers who are Indians". The utterance meaning of "the biggest Indian visa abusers" is a reference, I suppose, to certain companies. Hard to imagine that any single person can be called "the biggest visa abuser". In other words, not only doesn't it mean that all Indian visa holders are abusers, it dosn't even refer to any single Indian visa holder. The communicative meaning will be better clarified by Joe himself, I'll only say that hopefully nobody believes he said it to denigrate all Indian programmers or visa holders!
So Ravish, Ashok and Sunitha have the point, abstractly speaking. And Joe is right that this point has very little to do with what he said.

JP (response): You got it exactly, Map.
[ September 10, 2003: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
sunitha reghu
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Posts: 937
What the hell are you trying to say:
JP:Here's my native American response: fuhgeddaboudit
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by sunitha raghu:
What the hell are you trying to say:
JP:Here's my native American response: fuhgeddaboudit

I told you ex not to be angry.
Its OK that these days I am with Rani, but why Joe should bear the anger which is for me.
Joe Pluta
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 1376
Originally posted by sunitha raghu:
What the hell are you trying to say:
JP:Here's my native American response: fuhgeddaboudit

"Fuhgeddaboudit" is an American colloquialism. It is a phonetic spelling of the words "Forget about it" spoken with a specific New York accent. The phrase "Forget about it" is itself a colloquialism which means many things, but in this context, it means "the chances of me complying with your wishes are very slim."
My point? That I have worked very hard in my posts NOT to use colloquial English or American, and have gone out of my way to use standard English. If you wish to communicate in that language, then I request that you respect that and learn the basic grammar. Don't argue with me about how to speak my language, or else I'll show you what colloquial really looks like.
And THAT, Holmes, is the straight shizzit.
Joe
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

My point? That I have worked very hard in my posts NOT to use colloquial English or American, and have gone out of my way to use standard English.


thinko whaht bill hapen eef Aai speak in Angrzee ??
Bartania gobermaint left Hindustan after listning mai Angrezee aonly
[translation, which everyone should provide ]
Think what will happen if I speak in colloquial English ?
British Government left India after listening my English only.
[/translation]


Proverb: one cant wake up the one who is not sleeping
[ September 10, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
David O'Meara
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Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
My point? That I have worked very hard in my posts NOT to use colloquial English or American, and have gone out of my way to use standard English. If you wish to communicate in that language, then I request that you respect that and learn the basic grammar.

(hopping up and down) Ooooo ooo ooooooo oooooo
Now I get to post a quote in-context that I've been wanting 2 add 2 ppl who du ths 2 thr posts:
If you don't want to communicate, for gods sake shut up.

Thank you, Mr Ashleigh Brilliant.
I hope you understand why decide not to post this in reply to the posts mentioned
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
The phrase "Forget about it" is itself a colloquialism which means many things, but in this context, it means "the chances of me complying with your wishes are very slim."
I thought he was using it in the sense of "don't worry about it."
I suppose this is a good example of the problem of translating the outer message into the inner message!
[ September 10, 2003: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
Rufus BugleWeed
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1.well well, you get welfare if you are out of Job. h1 visa holders get sh&*.
2. When you retire you get your social security contributions back.
Consultants contribute for Social security and get sh#@ back.
3. If you are out of Job you can work in the holy lands of Burger king, McDonalds etc. Consultants if they are out of job for 2 or more months are kicked and deported the hell out of this country.
4. You can work multiple jobs at a time and make more money which is your right as a citizen. consultatns either have to work with the same company or get the hell out of this country.
5. State government pays your health insurance if you cannot afford one (I know this for a fact cause i know plenty of people in New York). well consultants are doomed for good if they cannot afford one.
6. Chicks dig american citizens . Chicks also normal people discriminate against consultants. Fact of new york city. Have seen enough racism over here but not complaining, good always over rides bad. After 9/11 those suspicious terrorist looks majorly in airports (LOL).
those are just top of my head.

What's the inner message in the above quote?
Anonymous
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

"Fuhgeddaboudit" is an American colloquialism. It is a phonetic spelling of the words "Forget about it" spoken with a specific New York accent. The phrase "Forget about it" is itself a colloquialism which means many things, but in this context, it means "the chances of me complying with your wishes are very slim."
My point? That I have worked very hard in my posts NOT to use colloquial English or American, and have gone out of my way to use standard English. If you wish to communicate in that language, then I request that you respect that and learn the basic grammar. Don't argue with me about how to speak my language, or else I'll show you what colloquial really looks like.
And THAT, Holmes, is the straight shizzit.
Joe

I didnt argue with you and I hate to argue. What I asked you after writing all the stuff in that post I mean in that thread you telling me "Fuhgeddaboudit". To be very frank with you, your replies are very hurting to others.
Anonymous
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Originally posted by R K Singh:

I told you ex not to be angry.
Its OK that these days I am with Rani, but why Joe should bear the anger which is for me.

Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by <sunitha>:
To be very frank with you, your replies are very hurting to others.

From another thread:
SR: As Ashok has mentioned very clearly in his post a common person what they understood by your post is what Ravish understood.
A tree is known by the fruits its produce same applies to an author also.

Since we determined in that thread, and as the above quote also indicates, that the misunderstanding was purely on the part of some who did not fully understand the correct usage of the language and therefore extracted the wrong meaning, may I perhaps suggest the possibility that the reason you classify some comments as "very hurting to others" might be for a similar reason?
[ September 10, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by <sunitha>:
I didnt argue with you and I hate to argue. What I asked you after writing all the stuff in that post I mean in that thread you telling me "Fuhgeddaboudit". To be very frank with you, your replies are very hurting to others.

I don't mean to be hurtful. I simply think you expect too much. There is a concept called "entitlement" wherein people expect things from other people. For example, you expect me to tailor my speech to your understanding of the language. I won't.
By using the American colloquialism I was attempting to express this, and at the same time show what I COULD be doing, which is using phrases that only an American would understand. I believe I am going out of my way to be understood. You think I should do even more. That is frustrating.
Joe
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:

the misunderstanding was purely on the part of some who did not fully understand the correct usage of the language and therefore extracted the wrong meaning,

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
So from now on I am going to try to be more willing to accept that perhaps I did not perfectly translate the outer message. So when someone refers to "stupid American tourists" I will try not to immediately assume that they are putting down all Americans.

So from now on other ranchers, atleast in MD [if not in the whole world], should TRY not to assume that they are putting down all XYZ.
Keep this thing in mind. I should not show each and everytime this thread in future for reference.
Rufus BugleWeed
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Joe, I have found some of your posts to be very uplifting.
R K Singh
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Question for language Gurus
I am little bit confuse now ..

How does India manage to creep into just about every single thread in this forum?

In the above quote, India word is used for whole country named India OR all indians OR all Indians who are rancher OR ranchers who are from India OR rancher who are posting from US but are Indian OR ranchers who are in India OR ranchers who are Indian and posting from India...
OR is he talking about Red Indians
Please clear me ??
Jason Menard
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Posts: 6450
Originally posted by R K Singh:
In the above quote, India word is used for whole country named India OR all indians OR all Indians who are rancher OR ranchers who are from India OR rancher who are posting from US but are Indian OR ranchers who are in India OR ranchers who are Indian and posting from India...
OR is he talking about Red Indians
Please clear me ??

OR simply, "the subject of India".
R K Singh
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
OR simply, "the subject of India".

May I use the same wording for other countries ???
Rufus BugleWeed
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Red has bad cultural implications in USA. Denoting anyone as red probably is fighting words. Communists were reds. We also shorten the term redneck to red.
Around the BullMoose Saloon, India refers to the people, culture and a subcontinent of Asia.
Ashok Mash
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Posts: 1936
Originally posted by R K Singh:

Please clear me ??

Aah, that good old, 'Please clear me?'. We once had another discussion about this one, and it wasn't too long ago!
But hey, I got to agree, some people have made it a habit to insult other groups - For instance, take last hundred posts from that man with a funny name, Rufus BugleWeed - He keeps slamming the immigrant community for a reason or other, in every other post he makes! Take that thread in Job Discussion forum, about Terms of Business (or something like that) started by Mark. He has managed to pump in some of his anti-immigrant-sentiments in that rather useful thread as well! Now is it just me who thinks so?
Okay, I didn't wanted to hijack this thread, so let me add this - If 'American w*nkers' is perfectly acceptable usage in English language, so is the 'Indian Visa abusers' and both are harmless. Otherwise, both are equally derogatory, and thats my opinion.
Thanks!
[ September 11, 2003: Message edited by: Ashok Krishnan ]

[ flickr ]
Anonymous
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God damn it why does these terms, Visa, indians have to creep in every message?
Jason Menard
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Posts: 6450
Originally posted by R K Singh:
May I use the same wording for other countries ???

If you understand what you are saying, feel free to do whatever you'd like. It is clear that you didn't understand the sentence you quoted though. Next time, instead of going on and on about it for as long as you did (you brought that sentence up on several occasions), if you don't understand what is being said or the message that is being conveyed, it might be better to simply ask instead of operating under a false assumption. It's possible that the meaning may not have the negative connotation you think it does.
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by <Anonymous>:
God damn it why does these terms, Visa, indians have to creep in every message?

<Anonymous> apparently understood me correctly.
R K Singh
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Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Jason Menard:

<Anonymous> apparently understood me correctly.

I understood too [<Anonymous>].
you brought that sentence up on several occasions
Yes, I have a bad habbit of niggling till I understand.
[ September 11, 2003: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Ashok Krishnan:
Okay, I didn't wanted to hijack this thread, so let me add this - If 'American w*nkers' is perfectly acceptable usage in English language, so is the 'Indian Visa abusers' and both are harmless. Otherwise, both are equally derogatory, and thats my opinion.

This isn't about opinion - it's about understanding basic grammar, and in this case, you are simply wrong. Why? Because the phrase "Indian visa abusers" was being used in context (please refer back to Map's post on expression vs. utterance meaning). I did not say:
"Indian Visa Abusers!"
As an utterance, that might imply the same derogatory connotation as:
"Yank Wankers!"
But in the context of "the largest Indian visa abusers", it instead has an expressive meaning, specifically that of visa abusers who are Indian.
But more importantly, Ashok, is the fact that every native English speaker has told you the same thing, yet you continue to argue. This is really not very productive. As I said, it's like me arguing with Axel about German. Basically, as far as this particular issues goes, it's not a matter of opinion. There are simple rules to English grammar, and you just need to accept them.
Or not.
But if you don't, then you're likely to continue to get angry about things you shouldn't, and while I cannot speak for the others, I will simply ignore your protests entirely.
Joe
Rufus BugleWeed
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If I have something any-immigrant or xenophobic in this thread Term of the Trade, I'll eat curry laden foods for a week straight.
 
permaculture playing cards
 
subject: What the hell are you trying to say?