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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Hyphenation? Maybe it's my Yank sensibilities (stop sniggering, you dirty people), but this pedant would think that "firsthand" is better than "first-hand". Or maybe not. I don't know.

Maybe that's not where the hyphen was supposed to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:00 pm 
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It occurred to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:27 am 
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Is this a bit to close to the line? I hope not, but I read it wrong....

Video of Pope Francis trying to avoid having his ring kissed goes viral

Other papers were more cautious and used the phrase 'papal ring'.

Apologies if this is too strong for C&F, in which case please remove it.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:11 pm 
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Speaking only as a Yank, Right-of-the-Pond slang falls under the jurisdiction of circumlocution. It's like "pants": we don't snicker at that, either, so likewise to us the Pope's ring is merely a jeweled bauble, and nothing else. We do, however, snicker at "knock (someone) up". That's a whole different ballgame in the States.

But this is material better suited to the "Divided by a common language" thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:35 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
.....to us the Pope's ring is merely a jeweled bauble....

I think it was the concept of 'kissing his ring' which fooled me. Perhaps it is peculiar to the circles that I have moved in, but the expression is often used as a euphemism for 'currying favour', especially in a strictly hierarchical workplace.

But maybe you are right, perhaps this is a regional language thing. Ah well, we are post-structural here.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:56 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
...the expression is often used as a euphemism for 'currying favour', especially in a strictly hierarchical workplace.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but during the previous snicker-fests we've had here over the phrase, I was under the distinct impression that in British slang, "ring" means the - ahem - nethermost aperture.

In that case, "currying favor" still applies, although we Yanks take a much less anatomically precise aim. Squeamishness, perhaps.

In reference to currying favor, a Yank could certainly speak of "kissing someone's ring"; the meaning would be clear, but the metaphor would be understood in terms of jewelry only, and never carry the sphincterological subtext it does in the UK. We just don't use the word that way. Should I say to fellow Yanks that I had to get my ring repaired, and should there happen to be an Anglophile among them, it would be boneheaded of him to make jokes about it, because then of course he would have go to the trouble of explaining his bon mot to those unacquainted with British parlance, which is going to be most of us. Sort of defeats the purpose of trying to be witty when you make people's eyes glaze over.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:01 pm 
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That was the meaning of ring as I understood it. Perhaps the center of the general target that many aim for. One hundred and eighty!

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:19 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
One hundred and eighty!

Had to look that up. That's "bullseye" to you non-dart-playing Yanks out there.

But what on Middle Earth was Tolkien thinking when he titled his famous trilogy? Surely he must have known that his countrymen would roll on the floor laughing at its mere mention.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:27 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
DrPhill wrote:
One hundred and eighty!

Had to look that up. That's "bullseye" to you non-dart-playing Yanks out there.

But what on Middle Earth was Tolkien thinking when he titled his famous trilogy? Surely he must have known that his countrymen would roll on the floor laughing at its mere mention.

I've never heard of anyone sniggering at The Lord of the Rings. I suspect it's that the plural renders it unambiguous.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:07 am 
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For me the word 'ring' in most contexts is smut-neutral. The only reason I picked up on this headline was its similarity to the phrase 'kissing his ring', which for me is smut-positive.

I never thought of Tolkien's theme as smut-positive, and I will now try to forget that suggestion.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:41 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I've never heard of anyone sniggering at The Lord of the Rings. I suspect it's that the plural renders it unambiguous.

Or it's like the difference between coriander and coriander. :poke:

For me, the plural is immaterial; it just indicates that the Lord of the Rings rules them all, if you will. Sorry to be getting gnarly, but you see the possibilities. :wink:

DrPhill wrote:
I never thought of Tolkien's theme as smut-positive, and I will now try to forget that suggestion.

Oh, have I created a monster? You're welcome. :twisted:

Honestly, though, I would think that of all demographics that ought to have gone there first, it should have been yours, not mine, wherein "ring" conventionally lacks any scatological meaning whatsoever. Frankly, I'm surprised. Call it a fresh perspective if you like, but you have to admit the working material's been there for you all along. Me, I'm just an outsider who happened to walk by.

This might be a perfect illustration of the Japanese adage, "Living at the base of a lighthouse" (tōdai moto kurashi); as the base is the darkest, so it is that it's hard to see what's closest to home.

Here's how I see it: When you give a word multiple meanings, all those meanings are available at once, to greater and lesser degrees of success. IOW, even though context determines conventional meaning, convention does not make meaning 100% ironclad (and my perspective should be proof enough of that). Of course this potential for ambiguity is one of the bases on which we build jokes.

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I've never heard of anyone sniggering at The Lord of the Rings. I suspect it's that the plural renders it unambiguous.

Or it's like the difference between coriander and coriander. :poke:

Yes, I still don't get what possible confusion there could be there. :-?

Nanohedron wrote:
Here's how I see it: When you give a word multiple meanings, all those meanings are available at once, to greater and lesser degrees of success. IOW, even though context determines conventional meaning, convention does not make meaning 100% ironclad (and my perspective should be proof enough of that). This potential for ambiguity is one of the bases on which we build jokes.

It doesn't work like that for me. I don't think it works like that at all over here. There has to be a real contextual ambiguity - otherwise, it just feels forced, to us. So, the Pope objecting to someone "kissing his ring" has the contextual ambiguity built in, in the whole phrase; whereas "Lord of the Rings" can only have one meaning. It makes no difference that the singular of one of those words, in a completely different context, has a different meaning. It's too much of a stretch.

I do have another example, from Oklahoma, no less, that has always amused me, at least. Gertie has just got engaged, and excitedly says to her pals, "Have you seen my ring, girls?" :o

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:59 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
So, the Pope objecting to someone "kissing his ring" has the contextual ambiguity built in, in the whole phrase; whereas "Lord of the Rings" can only have one meaning. It makes no difference that the singular of one of those words, in a completely different context, has a different meaning. It's too much of a stretch.

But the ambiguity wouldn't be there if you didn't assign such a meaning to the word in the first place, you see. For me, once a meaning is assigned, it is not necessarily bound by convention. Poets understand this. :love:

benhall.1 wrote:
I do have another example, from Oklahoma, no less, that has always amused me, at least. Gertie has just got engaged, and excitedly says to her pals, "Have you seen my ring, girls?" :o

But here there was no aforementioned kissing. So how does this differ substantially from from me getting a laugh out of turning The Lord of the Rings on its head? I see the ambiguity built in no matter where you look. Your slang usage is one that begs to be played with, so if we're to speak of forced, it strikes me as far more of a stretch that Gertie would offer a look at her main exit, and less so that the "Lord of the Rings" - whoever that might be - would have a stable of 'em at his disposal, let us characterize it. There are websites and movies in that vein, you know (or so one hears :wink: ). In fact, if some British S&M entrepreneur hasn't yet appropriated the book title tongue-in-cheek for one of those, I think it's a missed opportunity!

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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:44 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Here's how I see it: When you give a word multiple meanings, all those meanings are available at once, to greater and lesser degrees of success. IOW, even though context determines conventional meaning, convention does not make meaning 100% ironclad (and my perspective should be proof enough of that). This potential for ambiguity is one of the bases on which we build jokes.

It doesn't work like that for me. I don't think it works like that at all over here. There has to be a real contextual ambiguity - otherwise, it just feels forced, to us. [..]
That's how it feels for me as well, or even more so, as a non-native English speaker. It'll just be like Beavis and Butthead otherwise ("hehe he said <insert anything>")


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 Post subject: Re: Can't read it wrong
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:12 pm 
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Tor wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Here's how I see it: When you give a word multiple meanings, all those meanings are available at once, to greater and lesser degrees of success. IOW, even though context determines conventional meaning, convention does not make meaning 100% ironclad (and my perspective should be proof enough of that). This potential for ambiguity is one of the bases on which we build jokes.

It doesn't work like that for me. I don't think it works like that at all over here. There has to be a real contextual ambiguity - otherwise, it just feels forced, to us. [..]
That's how it feels for me as well, or even more so, as a non-native English speaker. It'll just be like Beavis and Butthead otherwise ("hehe he said <insert anything>")

Sorry, Tor; since you quote both Ben and me, I'm not sure which way you mean, nor does the reference to Beavis and Butthead help, as your tastes in the matter are not really made clear. But I'll go out on a limb and guess you were siding with Ben...

FWIW, I was never a fan of the Beavis and Butthead schtick. For me there's a difference between indulging in low wit and the callow habit of seeking out the smut in anything, as in the case of Messrs. B & B. But Ben is amused by Gertie's ring, whereas the joke falls flat for me; I don't know whether this is cultural or personal. I need other contexts for it to work to my satisfaction, and LotR does it nicely, precisely because violating such a beloved institution is so awful. :twisted:

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