LINGUIST List 4.843

Fri 15 Oct 1993

Disc: Esperanto Pronouns, Random

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. mark, 4.829 pronouns
  2. Paul Black, Random
  3. Logical Language Group, Re: 4.812 Qs: Cowe, Etymology, Onsets:codas, Random
  4. "Mark W. Eichin", Random

Message 1: 4.829 pronouns

Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 10:03:33 ES4.829 pronouns
From: mark <markdragonsys.com>
Subject: 4.829 pronouns

I'd like to point out one error in Rob Helm's discussion of the
Esperanto third-person pronoun system in 4.829. The
"personification" row should be below the "number" row, not above
it: "ili" is the third-person plural pronoun for all genders,
including neuter. In this respect the Esperanto system also
resembles that of English. That part of the tree should look like
this:

 |
 -------|-------
 | |
Number SINGULAR PLURAL
 | |
 | "ili" (they)
 _____|_________
 | |
Personification PERSON NON-PERSON
 | |
 -------|------- "gxi"(it)
 | |

 Mark A. Mandel
 Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
 320 Nevada St. : Newton, Mass. 02160, USA : markdragonsys.com
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Message 2: Random

Date: Tue, Oct 12, 1993 9:58:58 Random
From: Paul Black <Paul_Blackpost.ntu.edu.au>
Subject: Random

 Random
Jacqueline L. Lilly reported that:

> I heard a very strange constuction using the word "random" the other
> day - has anyone ever heard/used this construction?
> "This wasn't just a random job; she really needed it."
> Here, the speaker was using the word "random" to mean unimportant....

In certain academic (computing?) circles in the US (20 years ago, at least)
this usage was not uncommon, I think. Here 'random' means something more like
 'unmotivated' or 'without reason' than 'unimportant'. I think it comes out of
such contrasts as between randomly selected data as against data selected
according to some set of criteria.

Paul Black <> Northern Territory University <> Darwin, Australia
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Message 3: Re: 4.812 Qs: Cowe, Etymology, Onsets:codas, Random

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 12:17:24 Re: 4.812 Qs: Cowe, Etymology, Onsets:codas, Random
From: Logical Language Group <lojbabaccess.digex.net>
Subject: Re: 4.812 Qs: Cowe, Etymology, Onsets:codas, Random


This use is hackish slang. >The New Hacker's Dictionary<, ed. Eric S. Raymond,
MIT Press: 1991 (ISBN 0-262-68069-6), s.v. "random":

\bf{random} adj. 1. Unpredictable (closest to mathematical definition); weird.
"The system's been behaving pretty randomly." 2. Assorted, undistinguished.
"Who was at the conference?" "Just a bunch of random business types." 3.
(pejorative) Frivolous; unproductive; undirected. "He's just a random loser."
4. Incoherent or inelegant; poorly chosen; not well organized. "The program
has a random set of misfeatures." "That's a random name for that function."
"Well, all the names were chosen pretty randomly." 5. In no particular order,
though deterministic. "The I/O channels are in a pool, and when a file is
opened one is chosen randomly." 6. Arbitrary. "It generates a random name
for the scratch file." 7. Gratuitously wrong, i.e. poorly done and for no
good apparent reason. For example, a program that handles file name
defaulting in a particularly useless way, or an assembler routine that
could easily have been coded using only three registers, but redundantly
uses seven for values with non-overlapping lifetimes, so that no one else
can invoke it without first saving four extra registers. What randomness!

I suggest that the above use is a mixture of senses 3 and 4, with a tinge of 6.
But in fact "['random'] doesn't really have 69 different meanings [69 is a
random (sense 6) number!] ... [it] has only one meaning, an extremely
subtle and profound one which defines articulation. Which connotation
is implied by a given use of the word depends in similarly profound ways
on the context." (MIT hacker Phil Agre, op. cit. p. 397)

 --
John Cowan sharing account <lojbabaccess.digex.net> for now
 e'osai ko sarji la lojban.
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Message 4: Random

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 93 23:48:28 EDRandom
From: "Mark W. Eichin" <eichinATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Subject: Random


There is also sometimes a pun involved in such usage -- there is a
near-campus dormitory called Random Hall, whose inhabitants are
referred to as Randoms.

Also, random (in this case) isn't necessarily "insignifcant" as much
as it is the *opposite* of "well-defined" or perhaps "proper".

 _Mark_ <eichinathena.mit.edu>
 MIT Student Information Processing Board
 Cygnus Support <eichincygnus.com>
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