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Sep 02

Language randomness

Perhaps more random than usual, but I’ve been meaning to collect some snippets of language that stick in my mind.  Language is sequential (of course) and seems to be highly statistical (although there’s debate) but it also seems to sometimes trigger that sense of “flow” we think about in expertise.

This is an oldie, but goodie, has “flow” (IMHO) and is therefore a good place to start.  If I decide to post other language examples, it might get even more eclectic…

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Left as an exercise to the reader: how does the sequential nature and our prior sequence learning in language affect or create our ability to “understand” the neologisms like “brillig” or “slithy toves”?

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