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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:06 am 
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Perhaps we need a skilled wordsmith to create some wonderfully 'ambiguous' sentences/paragraphs/short stories. In this case the 'ambiguity' would be caused by the cultural background of the reader.....

For the pedants: I am not sure that I am using the word 'ambiguous' correctly here. I imagine there being no ambiguity in the mind of any one reader, but that readers from different cultural background would have strongly differing understandings of what was written.

I am only sorry that I am not up to the job. I am not sure that it would even be possible.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:14 am 
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When I revise my maths I am correcting, amending, improving my understanding of maths. When I find that Nano has rewritten a post while I am responding to it I think of him having revised it by making corrections, amendments or improvements.

Tunborough’s post doesn’t make any sense to me if I read it as English English. If I wanted to use ‘revise’ in either way I would rephrase the sentence and/or provide some context, such as giving a reason.

[crossing with Dr Phil but in too much of a rush to revise my post.]


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:42 am 
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Does this make sense to everyone......two different uses of it.

"I shall revise my position & will revise some more, so that I may pass my exam."

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:33 am 
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fatmac wrote:
....two different uses of it.
"I shall revise my position & will revise some more, so that I may pass my exam."
I think of those as the same use - revising something set out in your head that may later be presented to others. The other one is revising something set out on paper.

And putting it that way, they are all the same meaning, just a different context.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:02 am 
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Hmm, I see it as changing my position/thoughts on something, & learning/re learning something.... :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:45 am 
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fatmac wrote:
Hmm, I see it as changing my position/thoughts on something, & learning/re learning something.... :wink:


Both interpretations are related, but the subtle difference in meaning is part of the joy of the english language

https://www.etymonline.com/word/revise wrote:
1560s, "to look at again," from Middle French reviser (13c.),
from Latin revisere "look at again, visit again, look back on,"
frequentative of revidere (past participle revisus), from re- "again" (see re-) + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see").
Meaning "to look over again with intent to improve or amend" is recorded from 1590s.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 am 
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I won't copy out the entries, but the SOED definitions include looking at something again, repeatedly or meditiating on it - with no mention of the intention to change it - and also doing that in order to improve or amend.

Depending on context suggesting that someone "look at something again" might mean they should reconsider their understanding of it or that they should reconsider how it was written.

Is "revising for an exam" something that would be widely understood on the LH side of the pond? On this side we use the word both ways.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:35 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Is "revising for an exam" something that would be widely understood on the LH side of the pond?
Not something I've ever heard around here.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:41 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
david_h wrote:
Is "revising for an exam" something that would be widely understood on the LH side of the pond?
Not something I've ever heard around here.

Ditto. Frankly, it would be unintelligible to any local not informed about the RH side of the Pond's usage. And that's most of us. I myself didn't know of it until this thread.

With the meaning of going over something to more firmly memorize or reacquaint oneself, we would instead use "review", "recap", "bone up on", "brush up on", and others. On my soil, "revise" only means "to alter", and nothing else. The difference is so stark that using it in the sense of "review" defies even affectation: I might say "nappies", and someone would knowingly say, "Ah. He watches EastEnders and the like," but if I said "revise for an exam," most would go, "Huh? That makes no grammatical sense." And I too must admit it looks very strange to me!

"Revise" in the sense of "change" of course implies review, but being already understood, the act of review is only peripheral and therefore irrelevant to the core meaning of the word as I am familiar with it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:22 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
...the act of review is only peripheral and therefore irrelevant to the core meaning of the word as I am familiar with it.
Etymologically, as in Dr Phil's quote and what I read in the dictionary, 'the act of review' is the core meaning. It seems that it didn't travel west or if it did usage became rationalised and it was abandoned on favour of 'review'.

However, surpisingly to me, the first SOED definition of 'review' is "The act of looking over something (again), with a view to correction". So is the second, as a legal term, but the several others are along the lines of inspect, examine, survey, reconsider.

So we just seem to have settled on different usages. I wonder if 'revise for an exam' started as an upper class English usage that was not exported. The common folks didn't do exams until the last 100 years or so. And probably don't talk about them much in soap operas.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:46 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
...the act of review is only peripheral and therefore irrelevant to the core meaning of the word as I am familiar with it.
Etymologically, as in Dr Phil's quote and what I read in the dictionary, 'the act of review' is the core meaning.

Yes, it most certainly is. But of course when I say "core meaning" here, I refer to common usage, rather than its etymology. How its functional meaning changed for us is beyond my guess, because it seems rather irrational. But there it is. As we know, so many Left-of-the-Pond usages are archaic, but I strongly suspect this isn't one of them.

"Prestigious" used to mean practicing illusion and deception (note its close relationship to "prestidigitation"). The meaning apparently morphed from deceit, to dazzling influence, to high status. The New World meaning of "revise" might have gone sort of like that, I imagine.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:01 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
"Prestigious" used to mean practicing illusion and deception
I didn't know that. The SOED gives that sense for 'prestige' from 1656 then by 1829 something like how I would use it.

Sort of related, I did know that "sophisticated" has meanings along the lines of "adulterated .... not pure or genuine ... altered ... rendered artificial" but whenever I have heard it used that way the user has clarified that the 'old meaning' was meant. Unqualified I would assume the user meant something positive. As far as I can recall I have only heard it the old - more useful I think - way in relation to music, by people with a respect for 'rustic' music and musicians.

But I do hear 'unsophisticated' used in an appreciative way.

Is it used both ways in the USA? (and am I wrong about UK usage?)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:42 pm 
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Not commonly, if ever. Whenever I've come across "unsophisticated", the meaning seems at best to mean "artless", but any complimentary sense would have to be rendered by context, such as an appreciation of rusticity, as in wabi. For me, though, its use is best left for times where the uncomplimentary is clearly intended, because the word is so freighted that way these days; handle with caution, I say. In aesthetics, I could satisfy my trepidation over the word by saying something was "so simple as to almost seem unsophisticated." I might apply that in describing the purity of Shaker design, for example.

But one must acknowledge and address those sourpusses who insist that only people can be [un]sophisticated, and that objects or intangibles cannot. While that's reasonable in the narrowest sense and may even have been proper use at one time, I think we've moved well beyond such strictures by now. The word's too handy not to be given the flexibility it enjoys today. Call me unsophisticated. :wink:

I could drag out "egregious" again; it's famous for originally being a compliment that made an about-face, and is now a vilification. But what interests me even more is how its etymology, "out of the crowd", is mirrored in the word "outstanding" which, as "egregious" once did, typically means "superb"; essentially, both words are exactly the same except for the meanings we now attach to them. Pardon me while I digress: One could certainly say "outstanding in its evil", but I find that more literary than common (not that either should be preferable to the other). Then there's the directly related phrase, "to stand out"; it is decidedly neutral, and one may stand out for good reasons or ill. All right, then. Moving along:

In the States, when denoting a physical prominence or matters unresolved, the use of "outstanding" is uncommon, although you will hear it in finance, particularly in "outstanding balance/debt" (here meaning unsettled, rather than notable). In terms of unfinished business it's another one to handle with caution, because "outstanding work" is far more likely to be taken as praise rather than as a reminder that more needs to be done. I'm a big fan of erring on the side of common expectation; just because I know that "outstanding" can mean unresolved, or poking out, it doesn't mean I needn't pick my battles. As I always say: As with bagpipes, a gentleman is one who can use "sesquipedalian", but doesn't. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:10 am 
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I came across something unexpected at work the other day. A colleague happens to be - well, unsophisticated, shall we say? :wink: - and gets most of the little general knowledge he does possess from films - mainly American films. In the course of normal conversation, I was describing a dish I had prepared last weekend, which happened to include paprika. I pronounced it the way I always have, i.e., pap-rick-uh. He picked me up on this, and made fun of my pronunciation, insisting that the correct pronunciation was pap-ree-ka. I immediately said that I thought that was the American pronunciation, and that mine was the British pronunciation. So of course we had to Google it. Turns out that I was right. They are apparently, exclusively and separately, British and American pronunciations.

I'm guessing from the reaction of my Brummie colleague that the British pronunciation of pap-rick-uh is not long for this world. :(

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:46 am 
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... which reminds me about o-REG-a-no.


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