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Ben X

Didactic Thumbs (Pedantry Corner)

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So that's how you all use it? You don't use it in the traditional way, ie relating to utterances? (Looks like the new meaning was coined by Judith Butler in 1990.)

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I don't think I've ever heard anybody talk about performative language outside of linguistics classes, and inside linguistics there's more recent terminology for such uses of language in Searle's Speech Act theory (which would label marrying people or sentencing someone as declarative speech acts). So yeah, I mostly use performative (and see it used) to describe things that are about expressing something for either your own benefit or somebody elses. Gender is one such thing, but games can be performative too, when you play a particular part in a team and let other parts of your personality shine through in accordance with the role.

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So that's how you all use it? You don't use it in the traditional way, ie relating to utterances? (Looks like the new meaning was coined by Judith Butler in 1990.)

 

Well, I'm a history student, so yeah I generally encounter it in the Butlerian sense. Although I think it's expanded even further than that: a recent grad conference we had at school had "Performance" as a theme, and I'll be taking a class on performativity in history next year. It's a pretty popular idea in the humanities right now. The game's angle that Deadpan brought up is particularly interesting to me, since it will hopefully form part of my Master's research.

 

The linguistics angle is interesting too though. I've heard about Searle's theories, but I don't think I'd heard "performative" used in that sense, but I see what you mean.

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Would it be more appropriate to call VIPs Very Important People or Very Important Persons? I heard someone call them very important people this morning and it's bugging me.

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Would it be more appropriate to call VIPs Very Important People or Very Important Persons? I heard someone call them very important people this morning and it's bugging me.

 

People is the plural of person.

However, because we tend to use VIP as it's own word, VIPs is the plural of VIP.

So, when written, shouldn't it be 'Very Important People' for longhand and, also, VIPs for shorthand?

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Persons is also an acceptable plural. It arguably sounds a little more formal and can be used to draw attention to the fact that you are talking about a small and distinct group of individuals rather than a nebulous crowd. So Very Important People sounds more like you're talking about VIPs in general and Very Important Persons sounds more like you're talking about a specific group of more than one VIP.

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very unique

 

Nope! Unique is binary, it's either unique or it's not. You can't modify it by saying it's 'very' unique, and you probably should use a different word, like 'unusual', or 'singular', which is useful because it can be used in the way you're trying to use unique.

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Nope! Unique is binary, it's either unique or it's not. You can't modify it by saying it's 'very' unique, and you probably should use a different word, like 'unusual', or 'singular', which is useful because it can be used in the way you're trying to use unique.

 

That's a mathematical argument if I've ever heard one.

One of my math professors made this exact argument in class one day because 'unique' is a very useful mathematical concept.

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I have a similar complaint about "infinite".

 

Also, if you're outlawing "very unique" I don't think "very singular" makes much more sense.

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I have a similar complaint about "infinite".

But there actually are varying degrees of infinite! Some infinites are larger than others. The set of all positive integers is smaller than the set of all numbers, but both are infinite. It's a concept you can give some leeway to!

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How do you feel about 'almost infinite,' considering that any finite thing is so inadequate at approaching the concept of infinity that it might as well be 0

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There are a lot of things that tend to or approach infinity, which basically means they're almost infinite. If you've ever done limits, I'm sure you've had solutions that approach infinity -- they're almost infinite, but not quite. We can't express the values of either, but there's a fine point to be made that one is almost infinite and the other is infinite.

Set theory is bizarre.

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i'm gonna vomit out my brain

 

THIS IS THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE THREAD NOT THE MATH THREAD YOU MONSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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There are a lot of things that tend to or approach infinity, which basically means they're almost infinite. If you've ever done limits, I'm sure you've had solutions that approach infinity -- they're almost infinite, but not quite. We can't express the values of either, but there's a fine point to be made that one is almost infinite and the other is infinite.

Set theory is bizarre.

 

Yeah, I was a Political Science major. Math is something that other people did.

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But there actually are varying degrees of infinite! Some infinites are larger than others. The set of all positive integers is smaller than the set of all numbers, but both are infinite. It's a concept you can give some leeway to!

 

Oh I know that (Cantor's Diagonal Method is near the top of my list of mind-blowing revelations). What I'm talking about is when somebody describes a number as infinite when it's just really big or arbitrarily big.

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But there actually are varying degrees of infinite! Some infinites are larger than others. The set of all positive integers is smaller than the set of all numbers, but both are infinite. It's a concept you can give some leeway to!

 

I don't know if 'aleph zero' really flows in a sentence.

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From the Dark Souls 3 thread:

 

 

Ahem, I think you mean abstruse.

 

You're abstruse.

 

Dammit, I even know better.

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I don't think I've ever heard that word before, which makes me think "obtuse" is just one of those definitions that's changed over time to mean something it didn't used to.

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The only reason it it resonates at all in my brain is from a copy editing class in college, where obtuse was on a list of words to generally avoid in casual usage, because it probably doesn't mean what you think it means and there's also probably a simpler way to say what you mean. 

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Jake kept talking about the "meta-goal" in No Man's Sky in this week's episode. I have no idea what meta as a prefix or adjective means any more. As far as I can tell, it started as a prefix meaning something along the lines of 'about itself'. So dialogue about dialogue would be meta-dialogue. This particular type of usage of it seems to have led to it being used as a synonym for 'post-modern' or breaking the fourth wall. That in turn seems to have led to it meaning 'outside or above'. But Jake seems to be using it as 'overall' or something here? This seems to be another one of those words that has become popular and then lost all meaning incredibly quickly.

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It seems moot to argue about the original original meaning of meta, as a Greek preposition and prefix, but the meaning that evolved from that had less to do initially with being self-referential and more with being on a higher plane of abstraction, meaning that it concerns something else of the same type, i.e. a metagame isn't a game that addresses its own gameness but a game that exists on top of another game, a level of strategizing beyond individual matches in LOMAs for instance. In that sense, a goal beyond goals fits the bill decently enough, I think, particularly if it's not initially clear what you're working towards on a grand scheme.

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It's weird in the No Man's Sky context because it seems like the whole "get to the center of the galaxy" thing is pretty explicit. So it's no more a meta-goal than the missions in, say, a GTA game. Sure you don't technically have to do them to play the game, but they are the goal of the game. Also while I'm being pedantic about No Man's Sky podcast talk, I felt like "galaxy" and "universe" were being used interchangeably. I think it's been made pretty clear that the game takes place in a single galaxy.

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it concerns something else of the same type

 

Yeah, I should have said this instead of "about itself". So metadata is data about data. But that got expanded out to "dialogue about other dialogue" or "a film about other films", which has led to it (sometimes inappropriately) being used as an adjective interchangeable with self-referential. But it even seems to be moving away from that. Not to pick on Jake - his usage is just a recent example - but I still think that using "meta-goal" to describe the main or ultimate goal of the game is another completely different meaning (possibly the original Greek preposition, in fact, as it is indeed next to or beyond the other goals), of which I've heard many used for meta. It just seems like people are flinging it at anything at the moment - or perhaps it just has a few concurrently used specific definitions which makes it an unwieldy term for the listener...

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