aspose file tools*
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark ""Even I" vs. "I also"" Watch ""Even I" vs. "I also"" New topic
Author

"Even I" vs. "I also"

Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
Hi Guys,

I hope that this thread doesn't become political or not nice! My entire intention here is to make communications here at the ranch friendlier and more productive

I often see ranchers for whom English is a second or third language use the expression "even I" in places that strike me as unusual. For instance, if a particular mock question is being discussed, a rancher might say:

"Even I got that question wrong."

My guess is that most native english speakers would say instead:

"I also got that question wrong."

This might seem like a picky point, but unfortunately "even I" carries some bad implications. For native Engish speakers the phrase "even I" implies that the speaker believes himself to be superior to all others. It's kind of like saying:

"Even I, master of the universe and wisest of all beings, got that question wrong."

Now I understand that the ranchers who use the phrase "even I" don't actually think that they are the masters of the universe (I hope ), but even so, every time I read it I have to stop and catch my breath.

So my advice would be, instead of saying "even I", say "I also".

hth,

Bert


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Anupam Sinha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 13, 2003
Posts: 1088
Yup that may be helpful. But :

1: Then again there would be many more such phrases.
2: Maybe/Probably majority of native english speakers do not think that way. Infact Even I, don't think that way. . But I am not a native English speaker.
3. There maybe some opposite cases (though I guess it would be far and few) where in non English speakers may feel something that the native English speaker didn't intended to say.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11499
    
  16

I think I agree with Bert. "Even I" to me implies the speaker feels superior to others: "with my vast knowledge of all things, and certainly superior knowledge of this quaint little topic, even I got it wrong. Can you believe that someone like me got it wrong too?"

However, I think most native English speakers would say "I got it wrong, too" instead of "I also got it wrong". i think they have the same meaning. Even I would probably just say "me too".


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
agreed Fred
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

We've had this exact discussion before about "Even I". As I recall, it's a bit stronger than just unfamiliarity with English. My recollection is that "Even I" meaning "Me too" is a common and well-understood idiom in that dialect of English commonly spoken in India, along with "I have a doubt" meaning "I have a question".


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
Maybe/Probably majority of native english speakers do not think that way.

Native speakers of American English do.

In the usage Bert's describing, both "also" and "even" essentially add another item to some list. (A speaker using either one has the expectation that others are aware of the existence of such a list. There needn't be shared knowledge of the contents of the list.)

"Also" is generally neutral. "Even" is not neutral. It carries the added meaning that it is somehow *unexpected* that the current item is being added to the list. Why it's unexpected varies according to context.

I also got that question wrong.
(There's a list of people who got that question wrong. Add me to that list.)
(Alternate reading based on different stress and intonation: there's a list of questions that I got wrong. Add the question under discussion to the list. Heh. Note: I'm not turning this into a conversation about spoken vs. written language or the faithful representation of one in the other, but, Bert, if you wrote that sentence in some more formal context without a hint as to which reading you intended, and I was your editor, I would've flagged it. Then you would probably say that any rewrite would suck the life out of the sentence, and we'd go 'round and 'round and I'd give you one unconvincing example after the other or attempt to expatiate at great length on certain kinds of modifiers that can float about the sentence in casual speech or I'd launch into a diatribe of how I hate Salinger, and you'd be unimpressed.)

Even I got that question wrong.
(There's a list of people who got that question wrong. I know it's surprising -- you'd never think of *me* being on that list -- but, hey guess what? add me to the list!)

I got even that question wrong.
(There's a list of questions I got wrong. I know you're going to be surprised because the question under discussion was so easy, but guess what? I managed to get that one wrong too.)

Among native speakers of American English, I think there's little doubt that "even" carries this additional baggage. My understanding though, for speakers (native or otherwise) of Indian English it does not.

What to do in an international forum that where "English" is the common language? Should the "even I's" stop saying it or should others realize it doesn't carry the same baggage for the speaker as it does for the listener?

(Bert, ever get smacked down by a Brit for using "momentarily" "incorrectly" or somesuch?)

(And if any native speaker of American English tells me my use of "positive anymore" in speech isn't "correct," they should be prepared to hear a lively rebuttal. (Note: I wouldn't use it in formal writing, so we're all good.))
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
"Even" was discussed here:

http://www.coderanch.com/t/40930/md/Indians-even

And similar issues with "doubt", here:

http://www.coderanch.com/t/38109/md/learning-english
http://www.coderanch.com/t/38138/md/Please-clear-me
http://www.coderanch.com/t/41434/md
http://www.coderanch.com/t/43392/md/Five-doubts

There is probably some overlap, and maybe other conversations which I overlooked.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
I think that in this case, Michael's statements above about American English would also apply to the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Anyone from those countries want to comment?
Jan Cumps
Bartender

Joined: Dec 20, 2006
Posts: 2516
    
  10

Native speakers,

Did you ever try to post a question on the web in a language that's not your native language? Try Java House.

Regards, Jan


OCUP UML fundamental and ITIL foundation
youtube channel
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8883
    
    5
Man Jim, you're a wizard with that search capability

The first thread that you referenced contained my point, and a bunch of other points too, although I thought that it was very interesting that Thomas' example from 3 years ago so closely matched the new examples we've discussed today

To me the "doubt" issue is very interesting but a little less "urgent", because while it might cause some confusion it doesn't seem insulting, at least to me.

In any case I'll "stick to my guns" because THIS thread, so far, has been more focused.

It might be fun to start another thread on the placement of "only"...
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11525
    
100

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I think that in this case, Michael's statements above about American English would also apply to the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Anyone from those countries want to comment?


Speaking as a displaced Australian, I have to do a translation in my head whenever I read "even I", since I also feel it has implications that the original author probably never intended.

But I don't let it worry me. I know there are things that I say that are very strange to Americans - from how I state the time of day, to how I pronounce aluminium (yes, I did spell that correctly ). And there are things that Americans say that sound weird to me. And likewise with the English themselves, and the Irish.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
It might be fun to start another thread on the placement of "only"...

Or just head it off at the pass.

John Lawler's post near the bottom of the thread just about covers it all.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
One you'll hear in the US from time to time that continues to weird me out a little:

Me: Do you have X?
They: We sure don't!
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
Did you ever try to post a question on the web in a language that's not your native language?

I've both tried and succeeded. (Hey, do I win a prize!)
Alan Wanweird
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 30, 2007
Posts: 25
I think that in this case, Michael's statements above about American English would also apply to the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Anyone from those countries want to comment?

As an Englishman in Australia - I can confirm this. Michaels analysis seemed spot on to me!
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
I like this topic...

I am an Indian, I know our English is not the coolest. We have an accent (and we're well aware of that, so don't try to mock us thinking that we can't figure out you're mocking us ). We speak in a very Indianized English. We speak some words you may have not heard at all... Like: "What re?" (something similar to what's up dude?). But I don't know (even ) if there's an equivalent word for "re" in English.

And sometimes we don't bother changing a word's original meaning... For example: I have heard a lot of my buddies saying "typical" when they must use the word "difficult." Don't think that we're using the word incorrectly, we just changed the meaning.

And coming to "I also", I don't like to use the words "I also", "like", etc. (I think using these words doesn't make you sound cool). But most of our Indians do... Instead I was using the word "Even I" to sound trendy but I never knew that "Even I" implies that the person saying it is feeling arrogant.

And I must talk about "unfortunately". I also heard most of my buddies saying "unfortunately" instead of saying "accidentally". For example: "If you click that button unfortunately, you'll be subscribed to the spam list", but what they actually mean to say is this: "If you click that button accidentally, you'll be subscribed to the spam list."

Even I (hee hee)... No no... I too sometimes make a lot of these mistakes unknowingly (but not unfortunately ) but I'm continuously in the process of improving my English. And please if someone found a few mistakes in this post or any of my previous ones or my future ones, tell me so that I can correct myself the next time (and my English will start sounding trendy & cool someday).

My 2 rupees,
Srikanth
Anupam Sinha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 13, 2003
Posts: 1088
Something that I was totally unfamilliar with for quite a long time was the double negative sentences. I used to always infer that the speaker is trying to say -ve of -ve which turn out to be +ve. Hence the whole sentence never made sense to me. Does British English has double negative sentences. Moreover I am confused what was the original purpose of bringing in double -ve sentences. After going through this article I think I was not wrong afterall.
[ June 15, 2007: Message edited by: Anupam Sinha ]
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Anupam Sinha:
Something that I was totally unfamilliar with for quite a long time was the double negative sentences. I used to always infer that the speaker is trying to say -ve of -ve which turn out to be +ve. Hence the whole sentence never made sense to me.
Argh, yes, double negatives drive me around the bend. They seem to mean the opposite of what the person means. If they say "I didn't do no work today" then it means to me that they must have done some work.

Moreover I am confused what was the original purpose of bringing in double -ve sentences.
I think it is just laziness and fashion. If enough people don't understand grammar and can't be bothered to try and talk properly (I'm talking about native speakers here), then poor grammar can become widely enough spoken to be trendy.

Where I live double negatives are seen as a trendy way to talk, especially with younger people. There is even in some cases a sense that people are thought of as being uncool if they are grammatically correct.

I'm quite stubborn though and will often deliberately misunderstand people when they use double negatives by pretending they meant what they said.
[ June 15, 2007: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]

There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
I think that in this case, Michael's statements above about American English would also apply to the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Anyone from those countries want to comment?


As a non-native English speaker living in Ireland, yeah, I have noticed the 'even I' usage amongst my Indian colleagues, and one of them in particular is a major repeat offender, but then he is also very good at what he does. I guess everyone here now understands what he meant, and though he did say he is better than you, he didn't really say it, but he probably is anyway!

I agree with Fred, 'I got it wrong, too' or 'me too' is normal around here than 'I also got it wrong'.

When I moved here from India, I used to use 'doubt' for 'question', and I stopped it when I read about it somewhere - probably here!
[ June 15, 2007: Message edited by: Ashok Mash ]

[ flickr ]
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Now I also avoid using word 'doubt' and try to say question.

Even for "clarifications" also I say I have "questions" ..


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14432
    
  23

Another term that especially the Indian English speaking people often seem to use incorrectly is "real time". They say "real time" when they mean "real life", not realizing that "real time" has a specific technical meaning when you're talking about computers.

(By the way, English is not my native language either; I'm Dutch).


Java Beginners FAQ - JavaRanch SCJP FAQ - The Java Tutorial - Java SE 8 API documentation
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1390
Originally posted by Michael Matola:
One you'll hear in the US from time to time that continues to weird me out a little:

Me: Do you have X?
They: We sure don't!
That, and "We sure don't!" both sound to me like southern (Dixie) idioms. I suppose it means, "Not only do we have some (not have any), I am very confident in my knowledge of this."

The double negative is a more curious case. Its use is intended to emphasize the negative by repeating it. It is considered a correct usage in Yiddish (a language based on German of the 14th-century Rhineland). I don't know whether it is considered a correct usage in Modern German, but I suspect that it is used in colloquial speech.

I suspect that English grammarians may have decided that the double negative was incorrect because it conflicted with the need for logical precision and economy of expression in legal documents -- where one is often called upon to refute or contradict a negative statement. (Yiddish, in contrast, was never used for legal documents; Eastern European Jews wrote their legal documents in Hebrew.)

Given the choice, I prefer usages which are close to or consistent with the rules of symbolic logic. I guess that's because I sympathize more with the rational desire for logical precision than with the emotional desire for emphaisis. (Sadly, I lack the power needed to impose my preferences upon others.)
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
I wonder if programmers have a tendency to prefer a logical language because we deal with something similar in day-to-day programming. Could that be why there are so many people on this forum with an interest in linguistics?
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42926
    
  68
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I wonder if programmers have a tendency to prefer a logical language because we deal with something similar in day-to-day programming. Could that be why there are so many people on this forum with an interest in linguistics?


Probably. Linguists are frequently surprised to find that people outside of their field (i.e., computer scientists) have any idea about Chomsky, or would be able to differentiate between syntax, semantics and pragmatics of a language.
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Man Jim, you're a wizard with that search capability

The first thread that you referenced contained my point, and a bunch of other points too, although I thought that it was very interesting that Thomas' example from 3 years ago so closely matched the new examples we've discussed today

To me the "doubt" issue is very interesting but a little less "urgent", because while it might cause some confusion it doesn't seem insulting, at least to me.

In any case I'll "stick to my guns" because THIS thread, so far, has been more focused.

It might be fun to start another thread on the placement of "only"...


I would think that a community as diverse as the Javaranch would be more forgiving of regional dialects. After all, Americans have their own slangs, and Indians try to adapt to American slang. Is it too much to ask that American ranchers be more forgiving of Indian slang?

Besides, I don't accept that "Even, I" is bigger problem than "doubt". The former gives a perception of superiority, and the latter results in a confusing post. Shouldn't obfuscation be considered a bigger problem than a perceived slight?
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
Shouldn't obfuscation be considered a bigger problem than a perceived slight?


Well, in the "even I" case, the speaker is saying the wrong thing using perfect English, therefore obfuscating their true meaning. In the "doubt" case, the speaker gets their point across, although their English grammar is incorrect. So you could argue that it's the "even I" case that is obfuscated!

I think this community is fairly tolerant of language misuse, but as several people have pointed out, we're also interested in language itself, and the errors people make in English usage give some hints as to how other languages work in relation to English.

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".
Anupam Sinha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 13, 2003
Posts: 1088
[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".) 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".

I guess that's because that's how I (and probably people like me) would spell that in English. Even I I mean, I also, used to think that this is that way you are supposed to spell it. Don't really know how I realized my mistake.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Well, that's precisely it; what's interesting to me is why people would think to spell it that way. I don't think it would ever occur to a native English speaker to do so, which makes it an interesting error.

I just did "grep ai /usr/dict/words" and looked at a lot of words with "ai" in them, and the only ones that I found were Asian imports: "Bahai", "Azerbaijani", "balalaika", "bonsai" ... so apparently there's a tradition of using this spelling for this sound in that context. Otherwise, those two letters together usually indicate a long or short "A" sound.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
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 romaji spelling of the Japanese word for "yes".

Gratuitous abuse of the word diphthong alert!

(I had to read your post several times before I understood that you're talking about the use (or frequency) of the letter combination "ai" and not the actual diphthong (a sound, sometimes transcribed as "ai" or "ay" when fancier symbols aren't available). English words that contain the diphthong (sound) you're talking about, not spelled "ai": (unraised) hi eye aye my buy tie sigh lye, (raised) height flight kite. (I'm sure that's not all possible spellings.))

My take would be that they're influenced by various "phonetic" spellings found in dictionaries or textbooks for learning English, in which the second sound in "hi" would be spelled "ai" or "ay".

Japanese/Romaji "hai"? Why not Spanish "Jaime" or Basque "jai-alai" or Finnish "lauantai" or Russian "laika" or German "Mai"?
[ June 19, 2007: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1390
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I wonder if programmers have a tendency to prefer a logical language because we deal with something similar in day-to-day programming. Could that be why there are so many people on this forum with an interest in linguistics?
Not me. I preferred a logical language as a pre-schooler; my preference for logic influenced my choice of occupation rather than vice-versa. Having been born (I believe) with a touch of Asberger's Syndrome, my sense of logic was precociously developed, whereas my observational powers were attenuated. (I suspect this is true of many in our field, which is why so many neuro-typical people have a negative perception of computer people. Remember the movie "Revenge of the Nerds"?)

Therefore, I tend resent the use of idioms whose meanings are based purely on convention ("You're supposed to know I mean X when I say Y because _everyone_ says Y when they mean X.") -- which can only be observed -- rather than logic which can be derived. "No one sells a car like this!" (Don't _you_ sell a car like that?) "I could have cared less." (Oh? How much more than zero _do_ you care -- that your caring _could_ have been less?) "I don't have none." (How many would I have to take away from you so that you _would_ have none?)

I remember my irritation at age seven when I asked another child whether I could play with a particular toy of his, and he answered, "'N' 'O' spells NO!" I didn't resent not being allowed to play with the toy -- that was his perogative. My objection was that 'N' 'O' would spell the word "NO" regardless whether I had his permission. I knew exactly what he _meant_, but his meaning of his expression did not follow from the meaning of the individual words in the expression, and I was upset that he refused to understand this and to answer me in a logical manner. (Not that I had even heard of the word "logic" at that age. I just knew that what he said wasn't right.)

On the positive side, this tendency does help me see the logical deceptions in propaganda whose effect is derived psuedo-logical deduction using phrases bearing ambiguous meanings which do not hold constant across the argument.
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1757
    
    3
Therefore, I tend resent the use of idioms whose meanings are based purely on convention

Did you actually mean to write:

Therefore, I tend resent the use of idioms, whose meanings are based purely on convention...

You know, with a comma. Because the meaning of any idiom is based on convention. That's part of what makes them idioms.

In fact, the meaning of any word (perhaps save onomatopoeic ones, but they're language/culture-specific) is pretty much based on convention. Do you resent their use too?

(The thing about idioms is just that the convention for the whole doesn't match the added up conventions of all the parts.)

logic

Manager, speaking in a natural language: I need to know the current inventory of blue and green widgets. (Note: and.)
Writer of quick-and-dirty database query: Hmm. Does this guy mean those widgets that are both blue and green? Nope, probably not. We don't make ones like that. <type, type, type> select * from widgets where color = 'blue' or color = 'green'. (Note: or.)

(Yes, I know that could be written with an IN or even a UNION. I'm just funning you.)

My objection was that 'N' 'O' would spell the word "NO" regardless whether I had his permission.

Do you similarly take issue with "politeness if"?

You get an email at work saying "There's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room, if you'd like some." You, standing on your principles of logic, politely decline to take refreshment, of course, because there's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room regardless of whether you'd like some.
[ June 19, 2007: Message edited by: Michael Matola ]
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18987
    
    8

Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
I suspect that English grammarians may have decided that the double negative was incorrect because it conflicted with the need for logical precision and economy of expression in legal documents -- where one is often called upon to refute or contradict a negative statement.
It's possible, but not all that likely. In French the double negative is the standard, and there isn't any problem in writing precise legal documents in French. Also, whereas standard French would have "je ne suis pas correct" ("I am not correct"), colloquial French often elides the first negative particle leaving "j'suis pas correct". I have no idea whether French has grammar hard-liners who complain about single negatives, though.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31062
    
232

Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
I would think that a community as diverse as the Javaranch would be more forgiving of regional dialects. After all, Americans have their own slangs, and Indians try to adapt to American slang. Is it too much to ask that American ranchers be more forgiving of Indian slang?

This is an interesting thread. I hadn't even (no connotation intended) noticed the "even I" phrase until I saw this thread. I had noticed "doubt", but it is obvious what it meant, so no problem there.

The phrase that got me was "please do the needful." The first few times I saw this expression, it bothered me because I thought the poster couldn't take the time to fully phrase the question and expected me to figure it out from there. A bit later, someone (who lives in India) used this phrase in an e-mail. That got me to google it. And I learned that it means "do that which is necessary, and carries the respectful implication that you trust the other party to understand what needs doing without being given detailed instruction." So in my case, the problem stemmed from not realizing it was Indian slang.


[Blog] [JavaRanch FAQ] [How To Ask Questions The Smart Way] [Book Promos]
Blogging on Certs: SCEA Part 1, Part 2 & 3, Core Spring 3, OCAJP, OCPJP beta, TOGAF part 1 and part 2
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[Jayesh Lalwani]: I would think that a community as diverse as the Javaranch would be more forgiving of regional dialects. After all, Americans have their own slangs, and Indians try to adapt to American slang. Is it too much to ask that American ranchers be more forgiving of Indian slang?

The problem is that in many cases we wouldn't even realize that Indian slang is the source of the problem. If someone says "even I couldn't solve this problem", that's a perfectly valid sentence in standard English. It just sounds a bit arrogant. There's no apparent reason to suspect that "even" is intended to mean "also". Unless you've had a lot of experience with conversations between native English-speakers and Indian English-speakers. Or unless you've read a thread like this one, which points out the difference.

[Jayesh Lalwani]: Besides, I don't accept that "Even, I" is bigger problem than "doubt". The former gives a perception of superiority, and the latter results in a confusing post. Shouldn't obfuscation be considered a bigger problem than a perceived slight?

Well, both are potential problems. "Doubt" is much more common - and because it's much more common, there's a greater chance that native English speakers will have been exposed to it in the past, and know to mentally translate it to "question". In many cases they can recognize the problem and guess the solution even without having seen the usage before. (Although I personally did not understand this when I first encountered it. Someone had a "doubt" about something I had said, and my reaction was that they could test it themselves if they didn't believe me.) Whereas "even" is rarer and more subtle, which is why it has escaped the notice of many posters here. Without a thread like this, they would still not know about it.

To use a Java analogy, I prefer coding errors that throw nice obvious exceptions. They're easy to debug. But if a method chooses instead to substitute some other value, rather than throw an exception, it may be much harder to find the problem.
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
(I suspect this is true of many in our field, which is why so many neuro-typical people have a negative perception of computer people. Remember the movie "Revenge of the Nerds"?)

I think this could well be true. It is common for a clever people to be described as having no "common sense" or lacking in social skills. It could be just a common misconception, but I suspect there is an element of truth in it. Especially in previous years when computing required more a scientific background then it does now.
I remember my irritation at age seven when I asked another child whether I could play with a particular toy of his, and he answered, "'N' 'O' spells NO!"
I'd be irritated at someone saying this just from them being a smarmy little git

I see what you mean though. Sometimes it can be so frustrating when people say things which just don't make sense in the context. Another annoying trend where I live is to end every sentence with "innit?" (isn't it?). For example, someone will say "I went to the shops yesterday innit?". It not only makes no grammatical sense, but is a completely pointless ending to put on the sentence. Just what are they asking?
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1390
Originally posted by Michael Matola:
Therefore, I tend resent the use of idioms whose meanings are based purely on convention

Did you actually mean to write:

Therefore, I tend resent the use of idioms, whose meanings are based purely on convention...

You know, with a comma. Because the meaning of any idiom is based on convention. That's part of what makes them idioms.
If I said that, someone might point out that idoms whose usages are now purely based on convention originally rose out of long-forgotten metaphors which at one time did make sense. (For example, "lock, stock, and barrel" to most people means "throughly everything" purely by convention, but it originally got it's meaning because it represented all the major parts of a flintlock firearm.)

I am much less resentful if a user, when queried, is able to explain why the expression came to mean what it does rather than merely saying, "It's just an expression." I can understand and appreciate the use of metaphor. (I think the same rule should apply to, say, the choice of identifiers in source code.)


In fact, the meaning of any word (perhaps save onomatopoeic ones, but they're language/culture-specific) is pretty much based on convention. Do you resent their use too?
The arbitrariness of word meanings may be one reason I was a late talker as a child. It's a necessary evil.


(The thing about idioms is just that the convention for the whole doesn't match the added up conventions of all the parts.)
Exactly. To a necessary evil it adds unnecessary evil.


logic

Manager, speaking in a natural language: I need to know the current inventory of blue and green widgets. (Note: and.)
Writer of quick-and-dirty database query: Hmm. Does this guy mean those widgets that are both blue and green? Nope, probably not. We don't make ones like that. <type, type, type> select * from widgets where color = 'blue' or color = 'green'. (Note: or.)

(Yes, I know that could be written with an IN or even a UNION. I'm just funning you.)
Yes, natural language inevitably contains ambiguity which _usually_ can be resolved by context. (Much humor is based on manipulations taking advantage of this. In fact, the jokes for elementary school children printed on Laffy-Taffy wrappers pretty much all seem to be based on the fact that words have more than one meaning.)

One measure of the goodness of a technical writer (e.g. the writer of specs) is his ability to elegantly minimize this ambiguity.



My objection was that 'N' 'O' would spell the word "NO" regardless whether I had his permission.

Do you similarly take issue with "politeness if"?

You get an email at work saying "There's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room, if you'd like some." You, standing on your principles of logic, politely decline to take refreshment, of course, because there's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room regardless of whether you'd like some.
I'd prefer that the memo said, "There's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room, in case you'd like some." ("Though you may not" is understood.) Or, "There's leftover cake and ice cream in the conference room; please feel free to take some."

Don't get me started on people who say, "I feel like a bowl of ice-cream." This cliche' was exploited by the Mars Candy Company's advertising series for two chocolate bars (the Mars Bar with nuts, and Peter Paul Mounds without) via the jingle, "Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't." The commercial alternated a goofy person (who felt like _being_ a nut) with a serious person.
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Solveig Laura Haugland
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 24, 2000
Posts: 377
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". I'm impressed by anyone speaking a foreign language. So sure, it's good to know that "Even I" sounds conceited to us native English speakers, but if that's your biggest problem writing or speaking English, you're in GREAT shape.

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."

As Steve Martin says, some people have a way with words....some people....not have way.

I thought I had something else to say but can't remember it. Plus, the tables are filling up here at Baked in Telluride and somebody probably wants my seat. Well, to be absolutely precise, I presume they desire the chair I'm sitting in.


OpenOffice.org Users' Guides, Training, and More www.getopenoffice.org
J2EE: The Big Picture - Dating Design Patterns: What the Gang of Four Didn't Tell You - Dating Power Tools: Simple Stuff That Works - She'll Love It: The Guys' Guide to Giving Great Gifts
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1390
Originally 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.


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!")

(Do any Germans talk like that?)


I thought I had something else to say but can't remember it. Plus, the tables are filling up here at Baked in Telluride and somebody probably wants my seat. Well, to be absolutely precise, I presume they desire the chair I'm sitting in.
If they guy waiting is a young man, he might be interested in both.
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Jayesh Lalwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Jayesh Lalwani]: I would think that a community as diverse as the Javaranch would be more forgiving of regional dialects. After all, Americans have their own slangs, and Indians try to adapt to American slang. Is it too much to ask that American ranchers be more forgiving of Indian slang?

The problem is that in many cases we wouldn't even realize that Indian slang is the source of the problem. If someone says "even I couldn't solve this problem", that's a perfectly valid sentence in standard English. It just sounds a bit arrogant. There's no apparent reason to suspect that "even" is intended to mean "also". Unless you've had a lot of experience with conversations between native English-speakers and Indian English-speakers. Or unless you've read a thread like this one, which points out the difference.


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?
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Originally posted by Jayesh Lalwani:
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?


No, it sounds arrogant because the listener is hearing exactly the words that are being said. In order for one to know that this was meant as "I also" instead of what was actually said one would need to know that this is a common usage (or mis-usage) of those words, in that context, by a particular group of people and that that person was among that group of people.

Rather than hoping that your target audience will know how to interpret what you're saying, wouldn't it be more efficient to use words that convey, precisely what you mean?

Also, I don't think anyone is being disrespectful in pointing this out.
As was said multiple times in this and the other threads (see links above) is that a lot of people on this site have an interest in language itself and are interested in discussing it.
[ June 20, 2007: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]

Java API J2EE API Servlet Spec JSP Spec How to ask a question... Simple Servlet Examples jsonf
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: "Even I" vs. "I also"