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Thread: Comprehension

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Comprehension

    Dear teachers,

    Could you please explain where paradox lies in the following sentences?

    No.1
    The story must have been true because people who would not lie even to save thier souls told and retold that story.

    No.2
    He is vain about not being vain.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Comprehension

    No. 2: a humorous contradiction.

    No. 1: This one’s a little trickier. If you consider it a sin to lie than lying to save your soul is a contradiction. It’s tricky because “wouldn’t lie to save their souls” is an idiomatic phrase that means they are truthful.

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    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Comprehension

    Dear Lucky6,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. But it is difficult for me to understand. I'll try to learn more to understand them.

    Best wishes,

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky6 View Post
    No. 2: a humorous contradiction.

    No. 1: This one’s a little trickier. If you consider it a sin to lie than lying to save your soul is a contradiction. It’s tricky because “wouldn’t lie to save their souls” is an idiomatic phrase that means they are truthful.

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    Default Re: Comprehension

    Hello, jiang. If memory serves me correctly--some days it doesn't --your question was submitted some time ago, by you, and it was answered. ( Should I reply or is your intention here to get a sample of the interpretations out there?)

  5. #5
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Comprehension


    Dear Cas,
    I think I asked them sometime time ago and I understood them. But now when I read the explanation again I suddenly found I don't understand them. That's why I asked them again. Possibly the older I grow the less bright I become.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Hello, jiang. If memory serves me correctly--some days it doesn't --your question was submitted some time ago, by you, and it was answered. ( Should I reply or is your intention here to get a sample of the interpretations out there?)

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    Default Re: Comprehension

    Ah, I see. So, you're in a valley. No worries. Learning is peaks and valleys.

    OK. Here goes. The first one is a tad bit lengthy. Sorry. My intention here is to help you work out the meaning:

    No.1
    The story must have been true because people who would not lie even to save thier souls told and retold that story.

    Note, in Canada there is a group of people called the First Nations, aboriginals, not aboriginees, who pass down their history from generation to generation by oral tradition. They speak their history through song. Every word must be exact; the singer cannot and would not change a single sound, syllable, word, or syntactic unit. They believe the words they sing are and were the very sounds their ancestors spoke. Now, even though the singers take great care (and years of practice) to memorize and sing their ancestors' songs, there is a fraction of a percentage of error every time the song is passed down to the next person, the next generation. Sounds get switched, syllables go missing, words are forgotten, and the syntax is modified, not to mention interpretations of what the songs mean change from generation to generation as well as from one group to another. In the end, the songs they sing today are different from the songs their ancestors' sang, and yet some--ahem, most elders in the communities believe the songs are true to form, exactly as their ancestors sung them.

    Now, consider another belief system stemming from an oral tradition, Christianity and the Bible. Again, we have an oral tradition passed down from generation to generation, carefully kept true to form because the words are supposedly the word and story of God. The problem, once again, is not the event (what's being told) but in the telling and retelling of the story, especially translating it from one language to another. Words change, facts change, and so on. To err is human, right? In sum, the moment you retell a story, it's going to change in some way. Maybe not in a significant way, but in some small way, and when you add them up, the result can be significant. The event happened. That's true. But the story? Well, the story isn't exactly true. One of the best examples of this is when the police are taking statements from bystanders who have just witnessed an accident. Each has a slightly different interpretation of what happened. What they believe to be the truth isn't exactly what really happened. It's not the truth.

    Given our example sentence (No.1), how can the story be true if it has been told and retold over and over again by so many people? That's a paradox. Right? The story can't be true, because it had to have changed somewhere along the way.

    Does that help?

    _________________________________________________


    No.2
    He is vain about not being vain.

    Note, someone who is vain is conceited, or to borrow from Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Free access., Excessively proud of one's appearance or accomplishments.

    Given our example sentence (No.2), the man is excessively proud of his accomplishment that he is not vain. It's a paradox, a contradiction. Right?

    Does that help?
    Last edited by Casiopea; 07-Jun-2007 at 15:54.

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Comprehension


    Dear Cas,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I understand them. And thank you for comforting me and encouraging me. I hope I can be at peaks.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Ah, I see. So, you're in a valley. No worries. Learning is peaks and valleys.

    OK. Here goes. The first one is a tad bit lengthy. Sorry. My intention here is to help you work out the meaning:

    No.1
    The story must have been true because people who would not lie even to save thier souls told and retold that story.

    Note, in Canada there is a group of people called the First Nations, aboriginals, not aboriginees, who pass down their history from generation to generation by oral tradition. They speak their history through song. Every word must be exact; the singer cannot and would not change a single sound, syllable, word, or syntactic unit. They believe the words they sing are and were the very sounds their ancestors spoke. Now, even though the singers take great care (and years of practice) to memorize and sing their ancestors' songs, there is a fraction of a percentage of error every time the song is passed down to the next person, the next generation. Sounds get switched, syllables go missing, words are forgotten, and the syntax is modified, not to mention interpretations of what the songs mean change from generation to generation as well as from one group to another. In the end, the songs they sing today are different from the songs their ancestors' sang, and yet some--ahem, most elders in the communities believe the songs are true to form, exactly as their ancestors sung them.

    Now, consider another belief system stemming from an oral tradition, Christianity and the Bible. Again, we have an oral tradition passed down from generation to generation, carefully kept true to form because the words are supposedly the word and story of God. The problem, once again, is not the event (what's being told) but in the telling and retelling of the story, especially translating it from one language to another. Words change, facts change, and so on. To err is human, right? In sum, the moment you retell a story, it's going to change in some way. Maybe not in a significant way, but in some small way, and when you add them up, the result can be significant. The event happened. That's true. But the story? Well, the story isn't exactly true. One of the best examples of this is when the police are taking statements from bystanders who have just witnessed an accident. Each has a slightly different interpretation of what happened. What they believe to be the truth isn't exactly what really happened. It's not the truth.

    Given our example sentence (No.1), how can the story be true if it has been told and retold over and over again by so many people? That's a paradox. Right? The story can't be true, because it had to have changed somewhere along the way.

    Does that help?

    _________________________________________________


    No.2
    He is vain about not being vain.

    Note, someone who is vain is conceited, or to borrow from Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Free access., Excessively proud of one's appearance or accomplishments.

    Given our example sentence (No.2), the man is excessively proud of his accomplishment that he is not vain. It's a paradox, a contradiction. Right?

    Does that help?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Comprehension

    Climb every mountain.

  9. #9
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Comprehension


    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Climb every mountain.

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