Re: jabberwocky

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Tue May 15 2001 - 18:42:14 BST

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: Information"

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    Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 18:42:14 +0100
    Subject: Re: jabberwocky
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    In-Reply-To: <[]>; from on Tue, May 15, 2001 at 09:19:11AM -0400
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Tue, May 15, 2001 at 09:19:11AM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
    > On 05/15/01 03:51, Robin Faichney said this-
    > >I'd say, there's at least one example of a word that is used
    > >unusually, where that use conveys exactly what the writer intended.
    > Not to put too much of a point on it, but, yeah, that's what creative
    > writing is all about- making something understood on an
    > emotional/intellectual level, and yeah, poetry is sometimes putting
    > things in previously wrong places or using it in a new way to make this
    > understanding possible.

    That's common in literary prose as well as poetry.

    > And, yes, in these instances, 'the best use of a word' might well be one
    > at odds with common definitions or idiosyncratically.

    Thank you.

    > But this is poetry, and that particular use of that particular word in
    > that particular way _will not be repeated_ (usually) in other places or
    > times, and certainly not for understanding things of a different nature.

    So you deny that words change their meanings?

    > Language is an ever-changing, shifting landfall of human expression.

    Don't you see any conflict there?

    > And when science becomes poetry (which I dearly desire, BTW) then even
    > technical journals can look like Finnegan's Wake.

    I don't know what you mean by "science becomes poetry", but to me many
    technical journals already look like Finnegan's Wake.

    > But until then, plodding learners that we are, we need stepping stones of
    > permanent fixture on the landscape of facts.
    > And the unchanging symbols of science to mark them.

    Granted, science is unlike ordinary language and requires greater
    consistency, but, as I said, my use of "information" is consensual in
    scientific and technical contexts. It only conflicts with arts&humanities
    usage (and it doesn't even conflict there if we're conscious of context
    and recognise we're dealing with different concepts).

    Robin Faichney
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    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

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