It's your language. You use it every day. You should strive to master it. My late mother, a 27-year, graduate-level professor of English, embedded that in my brain once upon a time. I’m not nearly as smart as she was, but I’m sharp enough to recognize that the vast majority of native-born Americans can’t speak or write English worth a lick.
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.
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
I didn't take the test yesterday. (I took
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: