On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 01:09:22PM +0200, tijlan wrote:
> What do you think of E-Prime?
E-Prime is a variant of English that forbids constructions where the copula verb "to be" is obligatory. Supposedly, this changes communication and possibly also thought by making subjective judgements more overt.
The problem is that the copula in English is a purely superficial part of the grammar, which is almost completely separate from the semantic layer. So merely reformulating sentences without copulas has no bearing on "judgementalness", "Aristotelian essentialism" &c. It is easy to show that this is the case by "translating" the following sentences from http://nobeliefs.com/eprime.
htmin a way that conforms to the rules of E-Prime, yet undermines its purpose.
1A. The electron is a wave.
We consider the electron a wave.
2A. The electron is a particle.
We consider the electron a particle.
3A. John is lethargic and unhappy.
John lacks energy and has a bad mood.
4A. John is bright and cheerful.
John bursts with energy and cheerfulness.
5A. This is the knife the first man used to stab the second man.
The first man stabbed the second man with this knife.
6A. The car involved in the hit-and-run accident was a blue Ford.
The driver of a blue Ford hit a person and then drove off.
7A. This is a fascist idea.
This idea bears all the hallmarks of fascism.
8A. Beethoven is better than Mozart.
Beethoven's work exceeds that of Mozart in quality.
9A. That is a sexist movie.
This movie reeks of sexism.
10A. The fetus is a person.
A fetus becomes a person the moment the sperm enters the egg.
Arnt Richard Johansen http://arj.nvg.org/
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