Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Van Veen is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Tin-cup excercise?

    What does "tin-cup exercise" mean?

    I have encountered this phrase twice, both times as a quotation of an expert in foreign policy. Its meaning is opaque to me, and I cannot glean enough from context. I read it today in an article in the Christian Science Monitor Vol. 104, Issue 26. A quick Google search turned up a NYT article (my second encounter). If someone who reads this forum can elucidate I would be most grateful.

    As a snide aside - why does this website use the word "forums" instead of the correct Latin "fora?" Presumably it's because the site is about the English language (as opposed to Latin) and common usage has rendered "forums" acceptable. However, when one is discussing proper usage one is (I assume) applying a prescriptivist approach. Best to know the accepted rules from which we may consciously diverge?

    Thank you for your reply!

  2. #2
    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: Tin-cup excercise?

    Wlcome to the forum, Van Veen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Van Veen View Post
    What does "tin-cup exercise" mean?

    I have encountered this phrase twice, both times as a quotation of an expert in foreign policy. Its meaning is opaque to me, and I cannot glean enough from context.
    It would be helpful if you gave us some more of the context you had.

    Some of the examples here suggest that a tin-cup exercise would involve requesting money in some way.

    As a snide aside - why does this website use the word "forums" instead of the correct Latin "fora?" Presumably it's because the site is about the English language (as opposed to Latin) and common usage has rendered "forums" acceptable.
    Quite.
    However, when one is discussing proper usage one is (I assume) applying a prescriptivist approach.
    No. Most of us here give of opinions on how the language is used, not how some self-appointed experts think it should be used.
    Best to know the accepted rules from which we may consciously diverge?
    I don't quite understand your point/question.

  3. #3
    Van Veen is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Tin-cup excercise?

    Thanks for your response and the fabulous link. I've never encountered the wordnik site before and it looks like loads of fun! Also I appreciate your gentleness in calling me out. I am something of a prescriptivist and you made it clear in a non-offensive way that my silly rhetorical questions are unwelcome.

    One objection I have is to the idea of "self-appointed experts." It strikes me that while usage, grammar and spelling are neither eternal nor immutable there are accepted norms. Hence the need for a site like this. It's no coincidence that your site requests that posters refrain from using chat-speak/text-speak/1337-speak et hoc genus omne.

    Do you maintain that these aforementioned accepted norms are put in place and maintained by "self-appointed experts?"

  4. #4
    Van Veen is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Tin-cup excercise?

    Firstly I am profoundly dismayed to see that I incorrectly spelled "exercise" in the thread heading; any advice as to how I go about editing this?

    I found an exciting lead in further searching. Will have to type it out because the site doesn't permit copy/paste:

    "The trial of ... Oliver North ... focused Congress' attention on an aspect of the Iran-Contra affair which had
    previously received scant attention: the Reagan administration's efforts to persuade foreign governments to assist
    the Nicaraguan Contras while the United States aid to the Contras was barred. Attempts in Congress ... to enact
    legislation prohibiting such foreign fundraising have raised the question of whether Congress has the constitutional
    power to stop the executive from engaging in what has been termed "tin cup" diplomacy.
    -Alex Whiting, The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 99, No. 8 (Jun, 1990), pp. 2043-2062

    As to the original context in which I encountered this: An article in the CSM discussing the (then) upcoming NATO summit in Chicago w.r.t. the future of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. The meeting was described by Heather Conley at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as "...something of a tin-cup exercise and should give us some idea of what the [NATO] coalition countries' post-2014 commitments to Afghanistan will look like."

    Thanks again for the repl(ies).

  5. #5
    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: Tin-cup excercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Veen View Post
    One objection I have is to the idea of "self-appointed experts." It strikes me that while usage, grammar and spelling are neither eternal nor immutable there are accepted norms. Hence the need for a site like this. It's no coincidence that your site requests that posters refrain from using chat-speak/text-speak/1337-speak et hoc genus omne.

    Do you maintain that these aforementioned accepted norms are put in place and maintained by "self-appointed experts?"
    Norms are what most people accept. I wrote of self-appointed experts who tell us what they think we should say and write. Nobody ordained that the third person present tense ending of lexical verbs should be -(e)s; that just happens to be what it is for the vast majority of speakers of English. So, in this forum, if somebody asks whether it is necessary to say "He works", we say that it is. However, if somebody asks if it is necessary to say "If John were here now, ..." most of us say that, while some purists insist that this is the only correct form, many native speakers happily use was. For me, anybody who claims that we should say were, and explains how the subjunctive should be used, is a self-appointed expert.

    I have no objection to people who use 'fora' as the plural form of 'forum', as it happens, I do myself. I would object if anybody told me that only 'fora' is correct. IT is not; indeed it is a form almost certainly used by only a minority of native speakers.

  6. #6
    Van Veen is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Tin-cup excercise?

    I remember trying to describe the subjunctive (and its history and the vagaries to which it has been subjected) to my roommate at university. He was an incredibly clever fellow and came up with a saying I still use to this day:

    "It was were once but it is was now"

    Cheers!

Similar Threads

  1. [General] straight from the tin / straight out the tin
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Sep-2011, 08:45
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-Jun-2010, 16:27
  3. Excercise...help!
    By Silentium in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-Jan-2006, 23:35
  4. Help : "tin gut"
    By Sophie_Yang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Aug-2005, 17:48

Posting Permissions

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