Saturday, October 04, 2008

(Bleeding) Song of the Morning: Words, etc.

Blimey, what the heck is wrong with this darn pre-owned vehicle? This bleeding Judas Priest won't play!
Ah, I had you there for a moment. No? Then how did you figure out what I was talking about?
I'm thinking about exploring the subjects of euphemisms and minced oaths and trying to tie them into the use of tautologies in natural languages. After all, maybe we're talking about similar phenomenons from different perspectives. They all utilize expressions and words to signify something other than the given text (or, indeed, the written/spoken words themselves).

In tautologies, especially cliches, the meaning can and usually is different from any direct and immediate interpretation. For example, the Yogi Berra saying "You can observe a lot by watching" seems like a tautology (rhetoric and logical and thus provide no new information on the world) but can actually carry added meaning (the importance of gathering intelligence, for one). Ah, pragmatics.

In euphemisms and minced oaths the meaning is also "hidden in plain sight", to use a cliche. It's obvious to the listeners or the readers a profanity was used and its exact type (and thus meaning) can be readily deduced or inferred from the form of the replacing word or expression.

So, in both cases a decoy that everyone involved in a certain context knows it as such is being used, while the true (or added) meaning is silently pointed to, in a civilized fashion.

Anyway, the Indie paper is currently under review and an abstract of it will be posted here (eventually). Till I get to the whole tautologies business I have some ancient Chinese logic tricks to unravel (don't ask). So in the meantime, here are three songs to use as a bridge between the previous paper (Indie music) and the next ones (tautologies and Chinese logic-music). The first is a classic by Mother Love Bone (which also deals with how words are used by different people). The other two songs are from the Irish indie rock-classical (yep, classical) band Clockwork Noise (MySpace, sort of associated blog), the first of which also deals with words while the other has a lovely violin riff.

Mother Love Bone - Man of Golden Words {MP3} (from Mother Love Bone)
Clockwork Noise - Choose Your Words {MP3}
Clockwork Noise - Egocentric {MP3}
Mother Love Bone's picture from their spot on

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