[Corpora-List] Numpties and bennies: Google searches as linguistic evidence

Yorick Wilks Yorick at dcs.shef.ac.uk
Fri Dec 8 11:32:01 CET 2006


Ramesh is clearly right about "contrapunctal" being out there along
with "contrapuntal"; the difficulty is knowing what to make of the
distinction, if any, in relation to both music and the extension into
law and politics. One of the music citations from Google questions
whether "contrapunctal" is about "more than chords" (which is what he
took "contrapuntal" to have been, presumably) so that writer is aware
of some possible clash or extension beyond mere spelling variation. But
the dialectical/political extension is already an old one in the
simpler English version of the word(s), from Huxley's (20s?) novel
"Point Counterpoint" to US newsprogrammes using that as a title to
capture the notions of interaction/dialectic/response etc.
The alarming citations, one already quoted by Ramesh, are the extension
of the "contrapunctal" version into European thought, viz:

A contrapunctual reading is able to produce a connection between
discrepant experiences. The contrapunctual process furthermore is a
practice to rethink common geographies. A contrapunctual listening
disturbs so called stable, impermeable categories which lead to the
false conclusion that cultures of the West could exist thoroughly
independent from other cultures.

This "contrapunctual" normative equality of national and European
constitutional law, which deliberately does not locate the Kelsenian
Grundnorm or Hartian ...

All these seem (one cannot be sure) to be written by European
non-native speakers, typing the language while wearing thick gloves,
and possibly feeling that the "c" shows the continental origin of the
word more explictly?
Yorick Wilks




> Hi Roger

>

>> Ramesh, of course, meant to write contrapuntal

> I'm sorry, but you have not checked your facts - and should not

> assume typos!

> :-)

>

> I wrote "contrapunctual" and meant "contrapunctual".

> (I am well aware of the musical term contrapuntal, being a drummer of

> long standing myself).

> My "research" was solely to do with forms derived from "punctual".

> Today's Google for 'contrapunctual' (sic) yielded 1710 hits.

> http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=contrapunctual&start=0&ie=utf

> -8&oe=utf-8

>

> I do not know whether there is a genuine distinction in meaning in

> musical terminology

> between 'contrapuntal' and 'contrapunctual'.

>

> But I noticed in today's Google hits that there seems to be an

> extension (of the linguistic term?)

> in the legal and political domains:

>

>> Secondly the discussion aims at showing that contrapunctual law

>> principles have ... It is proposed however that since this limitation

>> of contrapunctual law ...

>> hermes.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=934067

>> SSRN-European Constitutional Pluralism and the European Arrest

>> Warrant: Contrapunctual Principles in Disharmony by Jan

>> Komárek.papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=934067

>

>

> Best

> Ramesh

>

> At 16:44 07/12/2006, Roger Shlomo  Harris wrote:

>> Thursday 7th December 2006. London, U.K.

>>  

>>  

>>  

>> Dear All

>>  

>> Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:

>>  

>> >>> and most hits for contrapunctual were from music texts.

>>  

>> That's surprising. Contrapunctual suggests music which is played

>> erratically

>> so that notes are played too early or too late - that's how I play

>> the piano

>> after drinking too much beer. Ramesh, of course, meant to write

>> contrapuntal

>> which is a genuine music term but he was just testing to see whether

>> we were

>> asleep.

>>  

>> Kind regards,

>>  

>> Roger.

>> (who periodically moonlights as a proof-reader.)

>>  

>>  

>>  

>>  

>>  

>> ----- Original Message -----

>> From: Ramesh Krishnamurthy

>> To: Diana Maynard

>> Cc: Harold Somers ; corpora at lists.uib.no

>> Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 12:06 PM

>> Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] Numpties and bennies: Google searches as

>> linguistic evidence

>>

>> Hi Diana

>> Sorry about the brevity of my previous email.

>> I didn't mean to be rude, just in a hurry as usual...

>>

>> But I was raising a genuine concern of mine. An experience last year:

>> challenged in

>> my daughter's school playground by 2 mothers who had heard of my

>> involvement with

>> writing dictionaries, I was asked to resolve their dispute: "is

>> unpunctual a word, can I

>> say unpunctual".

>>

>> It was not listed in any of the printed 6 or 7 native-speaker (US and

>> UK) and

>> learner's dictionaries I looked at. There were 15 occurrences in Bank

>> of English (5 in British

>> Magazines, 4 in Independent, and a few one-offs), so below the normal

>> threshold for inclusion

>> in Cobuild at the time.

>>

>> But I found 4320 hits on Google (43,100 today!

>> - so has its usage increased, or has Google's trawl just got

>> bigger?), mostly entries in

>> online dictionaries (based on each other?)... but also 9000+ for

>> impunctual, 5000 for non-punctual,

>> 500 for nonpunctual, 400 for contrapunctual, 11 for apunctual, and 7

>> for anti-punctual...

>>

>> When I looked closer at the hits, most of the hits for impunctual

>> were from a 1913 USA dictionary,

>> most of the hits for non(-)punctual were (technical use) from

>> linguistics texts, and

>> most hits for contrapunctual were from music texts.

>>

>> So I told the mothers that unpunctual was a valid word form

>> (ie created according to valid derivational rules)

>> but that it wasn't very widely used.

>>

>> PS I've just noticed a discussion on unpunctual at

>> http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=105391

>>

>> Best

>> Ramesh

>>

>>

>>

>> At 09:36 07/12/2006, Diana Maynard wrote:

>>> Yes, I should have been more explicit, I didn't mean in all cases!

>>> Diana

>>>

>>> Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:

>>>>

>>>>>> I guess this demonstrates the power of the internet over the BNC

>>>>>> as a corpus.....

>>>> For rare events, events post-1994, and events beyond British

>>>> English, perhaps...

>>>> There's still the problem of reliability...

>> Ramesh Krishnamurthy

>>

>> Lecturer in English Studies, School of Languages and Social Sciences,

>> Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK

>> [Room NX08, North Wing of Main Building] ; Tel: +44 (0)121-204-3812 ;

>> Fax: +44 (0)121-204-3766

>> http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/staff/krishnamurthyr.jsp

>>

>> Project Leader, ACORN (Aston Corpus Network):

>> http://corpus.aston.ac.uk/

> Ramesh Krishnamurthy

>

> Lecturer in English Studies, School of Languages and Social Sciences,

> Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK

> [Room NX08, North Wing of Main Building] ; Tel: +44 (0)121-204-3812 ;

> Fax: +44 (0)121-204-3766

> http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/staff/krishnamurthyr.jsp

>

> Project Leader, ACORN (Aston Corpus Network):

> http://corpus.aston.ac.uk/

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