Saturday, March 21, 2009

Syntax and style#2

Do you very want to be engaged in love, but does not can? Purchase itself magic pills!

(I didn't make this up, it was a spam header.)

I like "very want".


I also like the way that my reading makes sense of the syntax. On first Reading I didn't even notice where very was. I read, automatically adjusting my expectations, until I arrive at the apparent impossibility of "purchase itself". It's like trying to keep your balance and keep moving on one of those shuddering plank walks they used to have in "Haunted Houses" at the fair ground. You wobble along to the end. As Lecercle would point out, although this string of words destroys the normal logic of syntax and semantics, it still "makes sense". Someone wants to sell pills that will help me "engage in love".

To say that I all I do is engage in a form of translation, shifting this back towards a "formal" grammar which would allow me to rephrase the sentences as "meaningful", perhaps against a store of remembered sentences which allow me to rapidly compare and proceed, misses the point that I would have to "translate" or interpret "engage in love" anyway.

It also avoids confronting the deeply disturbing idea that I know what it means even though it doesn't say what it means?

Where's the dooferlacky thingy?
I think. I think I Put it on the whatjamallit
NO, you didn't it's on the microwave.....

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