The Grice Club


The Grice Club

The club for all those whose members have no (other) club.

Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Griceian Anatomy of a Solecism

by JLS

I was reading the NYT the other day -- a sort of 'preview' of "Don Carlo" as it opens tonight at the Met (NY). The writer -- the title of the feature was something like "A new "Don Carlo" the ever-changing opera", and I would need to revise the context. It is p. 25, of Arts and Leisure section, and it reads (Nov. 21) (as written by M. G.:

"No sooner has Carlo made himself known to her then the news break that their fathers have changed their minds."

where "her" = Elisabetta (for the record).


"No sooner has Carlo made himself known to her then the news break that their fathers have changed their minds."

---- Now: consider the 'then'. A 'solecism', so called. It should be 'than'. But, I would claim, and I'll have to be brief as I'm in a sort of hurry, that the Griceian has an answer to the solecism.

I haven't CHECKED or double checked this, but I would claim or think that 'then' and 'than' derive from the same Indo-European root. One root, one meaning. Hence, 'then' and 'than' ARE interchangeably.

One hears people say:

"Mary was more beautiful then Susan".


"Tom was more intelligent then Jerry".


Mutatis mutandis:

"No sooner has Carlo made himself known to her then the news break that their fathers have changed their minds."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grice at the opera

"Bing was ... uneasy about the _proximity_ of the New York
City Opera,"

Briggs tells us in his history of the Met,

"whose performances would be taking place only _a few yards_ from
the Metropolitan's. "Suppose someone says,

'I heard a lousy opera at Lincoln Center last night,'

" Bing suggested. 'Maybe it was the _other_ house's opera, _or maybe it was ours. Under the *umbrella* of Lincoln Center, each of the two houses is _bound_ to be deprived of its individual image, and that is the most important asset an opera
house can have."

Briggs, "Requiem for a yellow-brick brewery" (p. 326).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tyrannosaurus griceanus

To analyse clearly. By courtesy of T. and L. J.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Implicature OK

Metcalf's "OK: America's greatest word". Oxford University Press.

From wiki:

---- the implicature of 'OK':

""Okay" can fulfill functions at many level of discourse."

"At the ideational level it functions as an adjective or adverb (Bangerter and Clark, 2003), it signifies approval, acceptance and confirmation by the speaker (Condon, 1986; Merritt, 1984), and affirmatively responds to a question (Guthrie, 1997; Heisler, 1996)."

From the OED


All correct, all right; satisfactory, good; well, in good health or order. In early use, occas. more intensively: outstanding, excellent. Now freq. in somewhat weakened sense: adequate, acceptable. OK by (someone): fine by (a person), acceptable to (a person). Chiefly predicative.
Fashionable, modish; prestigious, high-class.
Of a person: decent, trustworthy; congenial.
Appropriate, suitable; permissible, allowed. Freq. with for.
Of a person: comfortable, at ease, content, satisfied; reasonable, understanding. Usu. with about, with.
Expressing assent, concession, or approval, esp. with regard to a previous statement or question: yes, all right.
a. Appended as an interrogative to a clause, phrase, etc., in expectation of agreement or approval.
b. Brit. ——rules OK!: asserting the pre-eminence of a specified person or thing.
Introducing an utterance or as a conversational filler, typically without affirmative or concessive force, but rather as a means of drawing attention to what the speaker is about to say: well, so, right.
An indication of approval; an endorsement, authorization. Freq. in to give the OK (to).In early use chiefly with reference to the marking of a document, etc., with the letters ‘OK’.
Satisfactorily, acceptably.
trans. To endorse, esp. by marking with the letters ‘OK’; to approve, agree to, sanction, or pass. Freq. in pa. pple.

"In this function it is frequently discussed as a third turn receipt by a current speaker (Bangerter and Clark, 2003; Guthrie, 1997; Beach, 1993)."

""Okay" has also been described as serving a variety of text-structural functions as a marker of information-state transitions."

"Several studies describe this function of okay, frequently, however, labeling the phenomenon differently (Levin and Gray, 1983; Merritt, 1984; Condon, 1986; Heisler, 1996; Rendle-Short, 2000; Swales and Malczewski, 2001; Bangerter and Clark, 2003)."

"Several studies subdivide this structural type of okay, usually, however, these subdivisions refer to the place where structural okay occurs or to the type of new section it opens up."

""Okay" functions as a pre-closing device (Schegloff and Sacks, 1973; Bangerter and Clark, 2003), it marks a return from a digression (Bangerter and Clark, 2003), functions as a text bracketing device (Rendle-Short, 2000), occurs in introductory or conclusion position (Levin and Gray, 1983), or as an attention getter at the beginning of an interaction (Heisler, 1996)."

"Finally "okay" and "alright" are frequently mentioned in their function of backchannel signal (Heisler, 1996; Swales and Malczewski, 2001)."[173]"

"The 1977 Tenerife airport disaster, in which 583 people were killed, was blamed in part on a misunderstranding between pilot and air traffic control over the intended sense of the word "OK". While the controller meant "understood, stand by", the pilot may have interpreted it as "approved, proceed". Standard control terminology excludes "OK" precisely to avoid such ambiguities."