Friday, November 28, 2014

Fallacy of Ambiguity

One of my greatest peeves is something known as the fallacy of accent (One of the fallacies of ambiguity).  Before taking a logic class a few years ago, I didn't know there was a name for this…this...this thing that drives me so crazy.

The definition is here

In a nutshell, it concerns how a sentence takes on different meanings, depending on which word has the accent/stress on it.  For example:

I didn't take the test yesterday. (Somebody else did.)
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I did not take it.)
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I did something else with it.)
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took a different one.)
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took something else.)
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took it some other day.)

What kills me is how many professionals are guilty of shitty accent-placement.  Next time a reporter is reporting or a narrator is narrating, give it a good listen and tell me I’m wrong.

Probably the worst offender ever is a male narrator from the television show “How it’s Made.”  I don’t know who the narrator is because I see mostly reruns of the show but the dude is really, really bad.  I mean bad.  Give it a listen one day.

Another who is really bad is Dateline NBC reporter Josh Mankiewicz.  Just awful.

Some of the best narrators out there don’t fuck up accents.  A few of them:
Keith Morrison
David Attenborough
Morgan Freeman
Alec Baldwin
Sigourney Weaver

So come on, peeps –
Get your shit together
Get your shit together
Get your shit together
Get your shit together

1 comment:

dennis hodgson said...

As a retired editor of academic science and philosophy books, I routinely shout at the television as I hear yet another mangling of my native language, but this is one aberration that I've not noticed. I probably will now. Even the once much-admired BBC is guilty of sloppy English usage and pronunciation, in both its broadcasting and its website.

Although English usage is not the only subject that I cover on my blog, you may find Mind Your Language, which is a summary of my personal philosophy of English, thought-provoking.