Nature of Man
… nothing that happens to Man is ever natural

22 November 2006, Wednesday

Meta Linguistic Imperfections of the Second Order, Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mordred @ 14:19

(Read part 1 here).

The reader is now asked to consider the meaning of this post’s title in a formal context.
Does it mean:
Meta ((linguistic imperfections) (of the second order))

Linguistic imperfections which are caused by other linguistic imperfections, which affect ALL linguistic imperfections caused by other linguistic imperfections

Meta (linguistic (imperfections of the second order))

Imperfections that are caused by other imperfections (in this case of a linguistic nature), that affect all linguistic imperfections (of the second order)

(Meta linguistic) (imperfections of the second order)

Imperfections that are caused by other imperfections, which affect all linguistic imperfections

(Meta (linguistic imperfections)) (of the second order)

Are you still reading this? This combination actually doesn’t make sense. As opposed to the others, yeah.

((Meta linguistic) imperfections) (of the second order)

Imperfections in the grammar (metalanguage) that affect some other imperfections in the grammar

I hereby move that complex phrases used in formal language (like laws and lesser rules) should use parentheses to clearly denote the syntactic parts of each sentence. An even better control over semantics (meaning) would be achieved if a non-natural human language was used, or a natural language was used in a strict and formal way, which can then be parsed by a computer program, that can detect logical inconsistancies or possible fallacies.

If you think that’s bollocks, and the example presented is superficial, try your teeth at these two:

Konan took the heaviest iron sword of magic and fire.
(How many items did he take? How many elemental properties did the sword have? Of what kind of iron was the sword made? (Hint: Fe58, which is the heaviest isotope, or Fe56 which is the most common?)

A person who enter a web-site with a web-browser or a computer program without authorisation is sentenced from 2 to 5 years in jail.
How many interpretations can you spot here?

The Bulgarian readers are also reminded of the Vanko-1 case, where the accused had his sentence severely reduced because of a “linguistic error” in the law, stating that forcing multiple women (and in one case a minor) to prostitute gets the higher penalty only if the “forcing” is carried with drugs. All other methods get you 1-3 years.
Hacking into a computer system (not clearly defined in .bg law) may get you the same sentence if it’s the second offense.

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