Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 29
  1. #1
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Yes - I have a problem, but rather being a linguistic problem in itself, it's instead a problem of linguistics - for some specific words in the English language, and what I'm supposed to do about it... (Without going to University :( ).

    I've already spoken to quite a few people about some of what I've found - from an English teacher - (I had to re-do my English quals since I failed them at college - (too much literature and not enough language for my tastes)) - to Dr Anthea Fraser Gupta at Leeds University here in England. (Yes, I'm English, and 32 years old). (I lived in Leeds for a while, but had to move at short notice, so I probably couldn't get as much help from Dr Gupta as I would have liked).

    Anyway - everyone I've talked to (in person) about, (sometimes only part of), what I've found has given me pretty much the same reaction and advice - 'duh - you're right, you should really go to Uni to sort that out' - (or something a little more formal).

    But going to Uni, unfortunately, isn't going to happen. (Money/time/support etc.).

    Before I realised that, I started a blog about the matter anyway - and since everything I have is all related to one particular word and how it is applied, (though not necessarily directly) - it's on a site called gamasutra.com

    Which might make you think everything I have is just about the word game.

    But you'd be wrong - (though the word game itself is definitely on the list.)

    It started with describing what I saw in a game, (or even games in general I quickly realised), in an argument with someone else. One particular word I used in a particular manner, which then led me to understand what I was seeing in a far better manner, seemed to (me to) be important. That then led me on a journey of discovery when I realised that the nature of the problems I had and was seeing was ultimately a matter of linguistics itself, in regards to the English language. (Though it is certainly possible that the nature of the problems (and some (possible?) solutions I've found) are not just limited to this language alone).

    It was like peeling the layers of an onion - every problem seemed to lead me to others, lying underneath, until I wound up right at the bottom and saw what was happening. (Which was when I understood why).

    So, I've found some problems, and need to know what to do about it.

    These problems are to do with the linguistic study, education and information about the English language itself - i.e. how we use the language to describe what other words in the language represent, based upon how they are used within the rules of the language itself. (It shouldn't be any surprise that the root cause of all these problems is by NOT following such rules properly!)

    Another reason I'm posting is that, although, as I said, I have a blog explaining some of this, I've had enough of arguing about really obvious problems and solutions in such matters with (computer) game designers/creators who just don't get it, and because of who I am, (a nobody), won't listen - even if I tell them 1+2=3!=1 or rather word1+word2 = word3 != word1 (in meaning). Simple, yes?

    So, of course, if it comes down to that, I can post everything I've found here, and let people who can (hopefully) prove they know best/better argue with them instead...

    Or find a better/(more productive?) outlet for what I've found...?

    Now, I know what you're thinking - this can, of course, depend on the dictionary/encyclopedia you read, right? Although they're not supposed to differ in that manner, they still can, yes?

    Well, no. When every dictionary/encyclopedia in the local libraries (Leicester & Leeds), along with those online and in shops are all similar in their problems, even if not specific in how they're applied - you know there's a bigger problem underneath. Two problems in fact, underlie everything I've seen - one of which is enough to make you bang your head on the table/wall :-/ (It's completely artificial, and should simply never have existed, let alone still exist today - I mean getting confused between definitions and applications is one thing, (which is the other problem - see the 'maths' problem above)) - but this is something else...).

    So, if you really want to know the words for which I've found problems with in their accepted and current definitions - (and have some, (maybe partial) solutions for), then here they are:

    Story - (inaccurate)
    Game - (inaccurate - based on obsolete use)
    Puzzle - (incomplete+could be better)
    Competition - (usually incomplete+could be better)
    (Art - could be better)
    Noun - (inaccurate/could be better - can fix mostly, just not completely - (must be the most important entry on this list) - (see adjective)).
    Verb - (inaccurate)
    Adjective (inaccurate - I don't have a solution for this one - though I'm looking. All I can do is let people know that there is a problem, and the nature of it - (and any potential solution if someone else can think of it)).

    So, any suggestions for what I should do with all this, that don't require me going to University?
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 21-Jun-2011 at 23:25. Reason: grammar, incomplete (word game)

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    People have been wrestling with things like the definition and meaning of, say, art for thousands of years, and there are many different definitions and views, so when you say that it could be better, what are you actually referring to?

    Why don't you try one of your grammatical terms, but I would warn you in advance that you may find that people disagree with you. When people come here with theories that they think are radical breakthroughs, they are often expecting everyone to see things the same way instantly.

    To start, I question the logic behind this:
    1+2=3!=1 or rather word1+word2 = word3 != word1
    Words don't automatically behave like numbers, so this a false analogy. Word 1 + word 2 could equal many things, so I would say that this formula is not a simple truth, and I can see why people don't listen to it. Words don't always go in neat pairs to add up to create a unit of meaning.

    a + man = word 3
    Really? What's word 3?

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20,149
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post
    Now, I know what you're thinking - this can, of course, depend on the dictionary/encyclopedia you read, right?
    No

    So, any suggestions for what I should do with all this, that don't require me going to University?
    You could post one or two specific problems that you have, clearly and succinctly, with examples, and without extraneous narrative, and see whether anyone agrees with you (as Tdol suggested).
    Even if no one is sympathetic to your ideas, that might give us a better idea of what you could do with them.


  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,167
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Darren, I have read your post two or three times, and I have to say that I have no real idea what your problem is. If you decide to use this forum, pease remember Raymott's key words:
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    ... post one or two specific problems that you have, clearly and succinctly, with examples, and without extraneous narrative...

  5. #5
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Post Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Ok - it's obvious that not everyone understood what it was I said - (which doesn't bode well to begin with!)

    As I said, I've discovered a problem with a group of words, and need to know what to do about it - since going to University isn't an option.

    Their recognised and understood definitions do not match with how the words are used. This is therefore a matter of linguistics, yes? There are two main problems affecting such words - some of which are symptoms of problems with others - (which, given the list of words I gave, shouldn't be too hard to recognise or understand).

    As I said in my post - there are two main fundamental problems affecting the definitions for the words I mentioned.

    The first main problem is extremely simple - and countering this particular problem is one the main reasons for the existence of linguistics in the first place:

    Getting confused between the definition of a word and its application, when the language deliberately treats them as two separate concepts and (therefore words), and so uses them together in combination when applicable.

    If you don't mind - I'm going to use an analogy first before describing the word that is currently affected by this particular problem - (since it should be then obvious as to how and why). The only reason I do this is because of all the problems I've had with people failing to fully understand and recognise this particular problem, (as obvious as it seems to be to me) - (as I said in my original post).

    An analogy:

    The words bird and fly(ing) are treated separately by the language for a good reason - (what they represent exists separately). Now imagine that people only knew of birds when they were flying overhead, and therefore defined the word bird as an animal that is flying - even though the language still treated them as two separate words used in combination. Now imagine that because of this, the two words were used together so often, that they became accepted as a single word together - 'birdflying'.

    So why would we then accept the definition of the word bird as an animal that is flying?

    This would be a problem, yes?

    So what word is this an analogy for?

    Story.

    The word story has become defined, recognised and perceived by the word, and action, tell - in a similar manner to that above, though the language has always (given the evidence provided by the large multi-volumed Oxford English Dictionary, alongside its definition (that is inconsistent with such evidence)) used the word tell (or equivalent) in combination with the word story to give it such an application. (For about 800 years or so). The two words have of course been used together so much, that the term storytelling has therefore become an accepted word in the language.

    So why is the word story defined as something that is told, even when the words story and tell are used in combination, are treated independently, and therefore exist in isolation within the language itself?

    Story (1) + tell(ing) (2) = storytelling (3) != story (1) yes?

    This should obviously be a problem, yes?

    So the questions then become:

    1. What does the word story then represent according to its use?
    2. How and where does such a thing exist? (Which is important for this particular word, as we'll see).
    3. Why does it matter - why is it important?

    I originally discovered this problem in relation to games as part of a discussion - (well, argument) - I had with a person a few years ago. All the other problems I have found with all of the other words stem from trying to understand why this particular word in relation to that actually mattered.

    The word story, of course, is used by the language as a noun, representing a thing - an object that exists independently of any application/state or quality - (verb/adjective or adverb). All of these words, such as tell, good/bad/short etc. are applied to the word story and what it represents, so it, in itself, can have nothing to do with any such actions or properties itself.

    Based on how the word is used - it represents an intangible thing - a form or arrangement of information, of or about a series of events, either real or imaginary.

    This should be easy enough to recognise and understand, and so the problems begin when it comes to recognising how and where such a thing can exist.

    Since such information can exist in many different places and forms in itself, and therefore be referenced to when used - ('it's a story' etc.) - the problem is that people have confused such applications of story for its definition - hence the problems - since such forms and types of story are not recognised or understood to be an application, just as a particular bird or door, is merely an application of the basic concept and thing that those words themselves represent.

    This is why recognising how and where this thing we call story can exist in isolation of being told and applied in such a manner, is so important to understand what it is the word story itself represents. There is, of course, only one answer for this question based on how the word is used - and the clue to that, is that stories can be imaginary.

    There is only one place an imaginary series of events can exist without being told:

    (A person's) memory.

    So, with that in mind we wind up with a definition for the word story that is consistent with its use:

    Story n. A form/arrangement of information of or about a series of events, either real or imaginary, (created and stored inside (a person's) memory).

    The parentheses are necessary precisely because such information is only applicable when the word is used for what it represents in isolation, which is not always the case - (but it still how it must be defined) - or because of how we use the word itself - (being related to people).

    Now, there are a few other words directly affected by this - which I left off the list - oops - (I shouldn't have).

    These are all the words directly related to and derived from:

    Narrate v. to tell a story / tell the story of

    At the minute, the word narrative is usually defined as being story itself - which should obviously be incorrect, since the two words are not used in the same manner so cannot represent the same thing. (We'll come back to exactly how and why, maybe, later on?).

    The question is now, therefore, why does recognising what the word story itself represents in isolation so important? What role or gap in the language does this word now fill?

    It was answering that question, (based on how I used it in the argument about the word game), that led me to recognise problems with other words elsewhere, and deeper in the language itself...
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 22-Jun-2011 at 19:32. Reason: typo's... re-wording...

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,961
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    But doesn't the fact that the story has to be arranged/created, etc, suggest that there is an internal form of telling at work anyway. Structuring, sequencing, etc, events, even if they stay in the memory of the person changes them from the general blur of events, etc.

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20,149
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post
    As I said, I've discovered a problem with a group of words, and need to know what to do about it - since going to University isn't an option.

    You don't need to do anything about it. Going to university would only help you insofar as it led you to understand that the type of "problems" you've constructed are commonplaces in linguistics.

    Their recognised and understood definitions do not match with how the words are used. This is therefore a matter of linguistics, yes?
    That's a problems with lexicography, I'd say. The definitions in dictionaries (or wherever else you are getting them) should reflect the way the words are used.

    Getting confused between the definition of a word and its application, when the language deliberately treats them as two separate concepts and (therefore words), and so uses them together in combination when applicable.
    The language doesn't actually prescribe this. It's the people who speak a language who decide on how to apply a word. Dictionaries then gather this data, and list words with definitions that describe the words' use.

    An analogy:

    The words bird and fly(ing) are treated separately by the language for a good reason - (what they represent exists separately). Now imagine that people only knew of birds when they were flying overhead, and therefore defined the word bird as an animal that is flying - even though the language still treated them as two separate words used in combination. Now imagine that because of this, the two words were used together so often, that they became accepted as a single word together - 'birdflying'.

    So why would we then accept the definition of the word bird as an animal that is flying?
    Well, firstly, we wouldn't. A child might. 'Birdflying" - that is, the action of birds flying - is a different word from either 'bird' or 'flying'. (This also applies to 'storytelling', 'story', and 'tell', so I've omitted that section).

    This would be a problem, yes?
    No, it wouldn't.
    For the discussion of "story", see above for "bird".

    Do you have any examples of how the words 'storytelling', 'story', and 'tell' are problems in reality?

  8. #8
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Post Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    For the discussion of "story", see above for "bird".

    Do you have any examples of how the words 'storytelling', 'story', and 'tell' are problems in reality?
    As I said, which it seems you actually support - but in a really roundabout way - the definitions of some words, (including story) which should be based on how the words are used - are instead based on what the words are perceived to represent, irrespective of their use. (A failure of linguistics).

    Story has nothing to do with tell in isolation, (which is why it's always been used in combination), yet that is how it is defined, and what it is recognised, perceived and understood to represent.

    The word story is used as a thing, not a process, state or quality, in isolation.

    But the word story at this time is generally defined/perceived as (or an equivalent of) narrative or vice-versa, even though they are obviously not used the same way, and cannot therefore represent the same thing or concept. Being able to fully understand the difference, according to not just how the word narrative is used in isolation, but also how it is related to another word - (narrate) - is an important part of understanding this.

    The current definition of story is therefore inaccurate compared to how it is used - therefore its use is not the problem, but its definition, right? Which therefore makes this a matter of linguistics and nothing more...

    -----------------------------------

    As for understanding why recognising what the word story represents, along with how and where, is important - well, that's the question that took me a while to answer - and wound up with a different perspective on a number of words and what they represent, according to how they are used. The problem with the word story is not that there are problems with its current use, except that it has yet to be used to its full potential - being linked to a specific application, (tell/told) - which limits its perceived property and area of effect. Imagine if the word bird was so linked to flying, it got in the way of understanding birds for what they are when they're not flying or even cannot fly etc..

    Short answer: Story = An objective representation of a person/entity... (Instead of a thing we/they are or it is, it's a thing we/they have or it has).

    Long answer? That could take a while - (if you're really interested) - but it is important - and so, again, is why I need help... This sort of stuff probably needs proper acadcemic papers written up about them, but I can't do that without going to Uni...
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 23-Jun-2011 at 18:03. Reason: typo's

  9. #9
    DarrenTomlyn is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    22
    Post Thanks / Like

    Post Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    But doesn't the fact that the story has to be arranged/created, etc, suggest that there is an internal form of telling at work anyway. Structuring, sequencing, etc, events, even if they stay in the memory of the person changes them from the general blur of events, etc.
    If people don't mind - I'd like to answer this one separately?

    What you're talking about is the equivalent of defining the word car by the nature of its creation, rather than what it is.

    The word story represents a thing - an intangible thing, a form of information that just is. If it changes - then it just means it's merely no longer the same story... The term you are looking for is not telling. The act of creating such an arrangement of information is better described by the use of another word we use in combination - the word writing.

    This then follows on from my previous post.

    Story = An objective representation of a person, by which their basic behaviour can be described in relation to, objectively within the English language:

    Things a (person/entity) does for themselves = writing a (their own) story
    Things a (person entity) does for others = telling a story
    Things that happen to a person/entity = a story they are told.

    So, why does this matter?
    Last edited by DarrenTomlyn; 23-Jun-2011 at 18:14. Reason: typo's

  10. #10
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    20,149
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I have a problem... (Not lesson related)

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenTomlyn View Post

    Story has nothing to do with tell in isolation, (which is why it's always been used in combination), yet that is how it is defined, and what it is recognised, perceived and understood to represent.

    "An account or recital of an event or a series of events, either true or fictitious."
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/story
    That's one definition.
    'Story' can be defined without using 'tell'. Stories aren't always told. Sometimes they're written and read.
    You should question your premises. But posting them here for comment is a good second choice.

    The word story is used as a thing, not a process, state or quality, in isolation.
    Yes, it's a noun. We use nouns for things.

    But the word story at this time is generally defined/perceived as (or an equivalent of) narrative or vice-versa,
    You assert that it is defined/perceived as narrative. Some definitions might include 'narrate' and its derivatives in a definition of 'story'. If you weren't sure of the meaning of 'narrative', you'd need to look that up. There is a potential problem of word A being defined by using word B and the definition of word B using word A in its definition. I agree that that can be a problem for students.
    The solution is to consult more than one dictionary, check how the word is used, the contexts, connotations, etc. Is that what you mean by a problem?

    even though they are obviously not used the same way, and cannot therefore represent the same thing or concept. Being able to fully understand the difference, according to not just how the word 'narrative' is used in isolation, but also how it is related to another word - (narrate) - is an important part of understanding this.
    Of course.

    The current definition of story is therefore inaccurate compared to how it is used - therefore its use is not the problem, but its definition, right?
    No. There is no "current definition of 'story'". There are many definitions of 'story' and 'narrative', and if you consulted various sources, you could easily differentiate these words. Some words are harder, and hence we receive many, many posts here asking "What's the difference between A and B?" But this is not a problem of incorrect definitions.

    Which therefore makes this a matter of linguistics and nothing more...
    Well, yes, it's a linguistics matter. I'd hesitate to call it nothing more. It's potentially a lot of things. But, sure, we're talking about words.

    The problem with the word story is not that there are problems with its current use, except that it has yet to be used to its full potential - being linked to a specific application, (tell/told) - which limits its perceived property and area of effect.
    But it's you who are linking 'story' and 'tell'. You have created a problem that didn't exist until you invented it (unless there is a problem that you haven't explicated yet). For me, 'tell' does not limit 'story' because I can conceive of a person reading a story, or writing a story. Telling doesn't enter into my definition necessarily.
    What I asked was, Do you have examples from real life of 'story' losing its value as a word because there is a source which uses 'tell' in its definition?

    Imagine if the word bird was so linked to flying, it got in the way of understanding birds for what they are when they're not flying or even cannot fly etc..
    Do you have any examples of this? Birds and flying are linked in most people's minds at some level. I have yet to meet a person who has a problem with the concept of flightless birds, or the fact that they can breed and feed and do lots of other things that don't involve flying.

    Short answer: Story = An objective representation of a person/entity... (Instead of a thing we/they are or it is, it's a thing we/they have or it has).
    You've lost me here.

    Long answer? That could take a while - (if you're really interested) - but it is important - and so, again, is why I need help... This sort of stuff probably needs proper acadcemic papers written up about them, but I can't do that without going to Uni...
    Going to university would not help you. You'd need to get a PhD before your ideas were taken seriously in academia; but in order to gain a PhD, you'd need to learn how to question your assumptions.

    Let's look at one of your assumptions:
    The word "tell" is used in at least one definition of "story" that you've read. Therefore, people cannot conceive of a story without the element of telling.
    What evidence do you have for this assumption?

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. My problem or my spell check's problem?
    By NarutoDude in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Mar-2010, 11:36
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Dec-2009, 16:42
  3. [Grammar] A problem for me in the lesson of Agreement.
    By LoOda in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Jun-2009, 16:13
  4. problem related to forum
    By Roselin in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Sep-2008, 17:21
  5. differences between related to and related with
    By renton in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2007, 15:00

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •