ORIGINALITY - Is it easy to write a simple, ordinary sentence that has never been written before?

 
unsmoked
 
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16 July 2017 11:06
 

ORIGINALITY - Is it easy to write a simple, ordinary sentence that has never been written before in the history of language?

For example, I feel reasonably certain that the following sentence has never been written before -

“The mosquito net protected him, but he felt sorry for his companions.”

Try one, so that you are also reasonably certain it is original.  (No fair using eccentric, bizarre, or fantastic meaning or words)

eccentric :    adj  2 :    deviating from an established pattern or from accepted usage or conduct -  (Webster)

Notice that if I was in doubt about the mosquito net example, I could say, ‘but he felt sorry for his seventeen companions.’  (the bar code of language?)

 
 
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16 July 2017 11:53
 
unsmoked - 16 July 2017 11:06 AM

ORIGINALITY - Is it easy to write a simple, ordinary sentence that has never been written before in the history of language?

For example, I feel reasonably certain that the following sentence has never been written before -

“The mosquito net protected him, but he felt sorry for his companions.”

Try one, so that you are also reasonably certain it is original.  (No fair using eccentric, bizarre, or fantastic meaning or words)

eccentric :    adj  2 :    deviating from an established pattern or from accepted usage or conduct -  (Webster)

Notice that if I was in doubt about the mosquito net example, I could say, ‘but he felt sorry for his seventeen companions.’  (the bar code of language?)

The constant buzz was an irritant but turning off the electric bug zapper would be fatal.

 
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16 July 2017 12:41
 

Donald Trump – brilliant linguist, acknowledged expert on international geopolitical affairs, farsighted and wise leader of the United States of America – on this day accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for the saving of Mankind from the ravages of Global Warming.

[ Edited: 16 July 2017 13:23 by Cheshire Cat]
 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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16 July 2017 14:35
 

Members of The Great Think Tank (formerly the SH Forum) have broken the biased thought barrier; experts unanimously agree that this will lead to a new age of enlightenment.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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16 July 2017 16:15
 

The shade of Captain Delberts luckless mistress still haunts the waters of the Emerald Coast.

 

 
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17 July 2017 09:47
 

OK.  But the next challenge is to write a very short, simple, matter-of-fact sentence that you feel reasonably sure has never been written before in the history of the world.

examples:  “The towels flapped in the sandy wind.”

“Trump folded the chair.”  (this doesn’t count, since I used the word ‘Trump’).

“The beluga wanted a sole.”  (this also doesn’t count since it’s too unusual, if you know what I mean).

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Jan_CAN
 
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17 July 2017 14:27
 

If the sentence is to be short and simple, and not too unusual (or I assume outrageously impossible), how could one be reasonably sure it has never been written before?

(I guess this sentence is too long to qualify.)

 
 
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18 July 2017 11:16
 
Jan_CAN - 17 July 2017 02:27 PM

If the sentence is to be short and simple, and not too unusual (or I assume outrageously impossible), how could one be reasonably sure it has never been written before?

(I guess this sentence is too long to qualify.)

Is it possible to have a sentence of only a few words and still be reasonably sure it has never been written before?

If a college professor suspects plagiarism in a student’s paper, I wonder if there’s a computer program that helps them find out?  For this topic, I’m just depending on the words ‘reasonably sure’.

Here’s a story somewhat related to the topic: 

While in Japan I met a young couple, both English teachers, who were writing poems in English as an exercise with their classes.  Their classroom text was poems by Emily Dickinson.  They wanted me to read their poems and correct their expressions and choice of words.  I wish I had saved some copies so that I could show you the originals.  Since they weren’t familiar with English idioms, their poems had a particular charm that I didn’t want to change.  For example, suppose they know the kanji they would use if writing in Japanese.  They look it up in a Japanese/English dictionary and find a number of possible meanings.  One of the meanings is ‘delight’ so they chose that word for their poem.  Another kanji is ‘mu’ and they look that up.  They find ‘emptiness’; they also find ‘clear blue sky’ (no clouds) and several other meanings for mu.  They chose ‘clear blue sky’.  In their poem they write, “the children’s delight of the clear blue sky in the field of tall grass and wild carrots where the house could not be seen.”

I suggested changing ‘wild carrots’ to ‘Queen Anne’s lace’, a suggestion they liked.  I told them the phrase, ‘the children’s delight of the clear blue sky’ was unusual, but not to change it.  “But what is correct?” they wanted to know.  “What is good English expression?”  They came to visit at least a dozen times and I think they came to understand why I didn’t want to change many of their ‘unusual’ expressions.

[A strawberry fell into the aquarium] - reasonably sure?

[klaatu barada nikto] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaatu_barada_nikto

. . . just started reading ‘HOMO DEUS - A Brief History of Tomorrow’ by Y.N. Harrari (author of ‘SAPIENS - A Brief History of Humankind’) and am surprised to read how matter-of-fact Harrari is in discussing the coming reality of 1950’s science fiction.  However, instructions to robots don’t count here.

[ Edited: 18 July 2017 11:27 by unsmoked]
 
 
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18 July 2017 12:21
 

Unsmoked, thanks for the explanation, and for your story about the Japanese students.

(I’ll have to think on it a bit in regards to providing an original sentence.)

That’s funny regarding the line “klaatu barada nikto”; some time ago I responded with this line when a poster referred to ‘Rulers’ from spaceships destroying the planet.  (I love 40’s/50’s movies, including some old sci-fi.)  I’ve only read Harrari’s first book; will have to make sure to read this next one.


P.S.  In the department where I work, occasionally one of our international students will phrase something in an “unusual” way, which can be quite charming and endearing.  In time though, they seem to lose this and speak boringly like everyone else.

[ Edited: 18 July 2017 16:15 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
burt
 
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18 July 2017 21:53
 

My wife is Hungarian. She and her family came to Canada when she was 9 and in short order she learned English. Today she speaks with no trace of accent, but on occasion she will use an English cliche in unusual ways, sometimes in exactly the opposite of it’s usual sense (likely phrases she liked and picked up without bothering to learn the actual usage). She was quite taken aback when I explained to her that “crocodile tears” didn’t mean laughing so hard that one wept big tears.

 
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19 July 2017 07:42
 
burt - 18 July 2017 09:53 PM

My wife is Hungarian. She and her family came to Canada when she was 9 and in short order she learned English. Today she speaks with no trace of accent, but on occasion she will use an English cliche in unusual ways, sometimes in exactly the opposite of it’s usual sense (likely phrases she liked and picked up without bothering to learn the actual usage). She was quite taken aback when I explained to her that “crocodile tears” didn’t mean laughing so hard that one wept big tears.

This is an understandable misinterpretation of this old ‘saying’.  Odd sayings and subtle meanings must be the most difficult aspect of learning another language.

[ Edited: 19 July 2017 07:47 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
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19 July 2017 10:59
 
Jan_CAN - 19 July 2017 07:42 AM
burt - 18 July 2017 09:53 PM

My wife is Hungarian. She and her family came to Canada when she was 9 and in short order she learned English. Today she speaks with no trace of accent, but on occasion she will use an English cliche in unusual ways, sometimes in exactly the opposite of it’s usual sense (likely phrases she liked and picked up without bothering to learn the actual usage). She was quite taken aback when I explained to her that “crocodile tears” didn’t mean laughing so hard that one wept big tears.

This is an understandable misinterpretation of this old ‘saying’.  Odd sayings and subtle meanings must be the most difficult aspect of learning another language.

Is this is related?  While in Japan one fellow liked to tell me jokes.  As he approached the punchline he would start to laugh and before he finished he was doubled over in tears.  Puzzled, I’d ask him to tell it again, wondering what I was missing.  Same result.  What could he possibly be thinking that was funny?  We would then consult the Japanese/English dictionary, but couldn’t get to the bottom of the mystery.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/im-nobody-who-are-you-260

An admiring bog?  Is Emily allowed that here?

 

[ Edited: 19 July 2017 11:02 by unsmoked]
 
 
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19 July 2017 13:47
 
burt - 18 July 2017 09:53 PM

My wife is Hungarian. She and her family came to Canada when she was 9 and in short order she learned English. Today she speaks with no trace of accent, but on occasion she will use an English cliche in unusual ways, sometimes in exactly the opposite of it’s usual sense (likely phrases she liked and picked up without bothering to learn the actual usage). She was quite taken aback when I explained to her that “crocodile tears” didn’t mean laughing so hard that one wept big tears.

If you can learn Hungarian, you can learn anything.

Has that ever been written before?

 
unsmoked
 
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20 July 2017 10:42
 
EN - 19 July 2017 01:47 PM
burt - 18 July 2017 09:53 PM

My wife is Hungarian. She and her family came to Canada when she was 9 and in short order she learned English. Today she speaks with no trace of accent, but on occasion she will use an English cliche in unusual ways, sometimes in exactly the opposite of it’s usual sense (likely phrases she liked and picked up without bothering to learn the actual usage). She was quite taken aback when I explained to her that “crocodile tears” didn’t mean laughing so hard that one wept big tears.

If you can learn Hungarian, you can learn anything.

Has that ever been written before?

https://www.google.com/search?q=If+you+can+learn+Hungarian,+you+can+learn+anything.&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS693US693&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZw86bs5jVAhVL-mMKHTUfDDwQsAQIVA&biw=1366&bih=662

EN, I put your sentence out there and got this result, so maybe it is now in the Cloud?  One of these cards says, ‘HUNGARIAN IN 3 MINUTES’.  It must mean that you can learn to say ‘three minutes’ - Harom percig - in three minutes?  However, when I listened to the audio pronunciation of Harom percig, I thought it might take me ten minutes to say it like a native.  https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+say+‘three+minutes’+in+Hungarian&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS693US693&oq=how+to+say+‘three+minutes’+in+Hungarian+&aqs=chrome..69i57.51768j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Ordinary sentence for the day:  ‘It took me ten minutes to learn a three minute lesson.’

How about this one from Time Magazine (speaking of being in the audience at a horror movie) - ‘Together we make an army - fortified by Twizzlers and Diet Coke.’

Another one from Time:  -  ‘He was attacked in March with a noxious disinfectant.’

 

[ Edited: 20 July 2017 11:05 by unsmoked]