[lit-ideas] Re: Get You

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 07:47:42 -0400

In a message dated 9/29/2014 3:28:38 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx quotes: "This seems to reject analyticity with regard 
'get you'." and comments: "It seems to me "analyticity" is beside the point:  
W's main point is that sense can only be shown not said. It might be added  
(though it is implicit in the claim that a "meta-rule would also fail to 
say its  own sense"), that while W of course accepts we often 'use words to 
explain the  meaning of other words' his view is that we are using words to 
show the sense  and that the words will not say the sense. This idea, that 
fundamentally words  only show their meaning (usually via their use) and do not 
say it [and hence can  only show the meaning of other words and do not say 
that meaning], does not  involve "analyticity" in traditional terms: if you 
give someone who has no  acquaintance with number-systems a proposition like 
"2 + 2 = 4" you cannot  convey its meaning through "analyticity" but only 
by showing its use (the  explanation of its meaning in terms of "analyticity" 
is parasitic upon meaning  that has been already shown as to the use of the 
terms involved). It is obvious  that the sense of an expression like "Get 
you" cannot be conveyed by mere  "analyticity"; and a dispute as to whether 
it is analytic (or not) is a  philosophers' dispute that is parasitic on 
meaning that is already established  without involving any philosophical notion 
of "analytic"."
My bad. I was using 'analytic' in a rather obscure way used by SOME  
linguists, when they say that English is more analytic than it used to be  (as 
opposed to 'synthetic').
A brief note on this use of 'analytic'. Latin is said to be very synthetic: 
 in that the past perfect second person plural of a verb is usually just  
expressed by ONE word. Possibly in Anglo-Saxon times, this applied, too, 
since  Latin and English share an Indo-Germanic base. But today, in English, 
need  an auxiliary, and the expression of the second person, 'ye' (say).
Similarly, Latin used to be 'synthetic' in that the accusative case was  
expressed by just one word, but in the Romance languages, no accusative forms  
survive as such, and prepositions do the work once done by case.
And so on. (It may be argued that THIS analytic-synthetic distinction is  
not a valid one, in that declension and conjugation -- the core of the 
synthetic  system -- can be de-composed into analytic elements).
So what I perhaps meant was COMPOSITIONALITY, as per the principle of  
COMPOSITIONALITY. I was never too much of an adherent of this principle, but, 
 Griceian parlance it seems to work as follows:
There's expressions which are basic, like 'Abracadabra', or 'Fido'.

Others are not so basic, like
'Fido barks'.
"Fido has been barking all night'.
Or, to use an Ulster turn of phrase
'They don't lick it up off the grass'.
As opposed to 'grass', 
'They don't lick it up off the grass'
'Get you'
seems complex and COMPOSED of more minor elements, to wit:  respectively:
'they' + do + not + lick + it + up + off + the + grass.
Grice notes that 'grass' is ambiguous: 'material out of which lawn is made' 
 or 'marijuana'. He's example, the ambiguity, when
"When I'll be helping the grass to grow, I shall have no time for  reading".
-- ("The utterer's meaning will differ whether we take 'grass' to mean  
'marijuana' or not"). 
McEvoy was suggesting 'Get you' to be a contraction of "Look at you', and I 
 think that this may be the key, and I suppose there is a source that can 
verify  this.
There is a /tch/ sound in 
"Look at you",
when utterered fast
and it may be that there is a false formation or deformation here, and that 
 the 'lu-' got dropped (as in 'cherry'?) which gave:
which since it's meaningless, was converted, by reanalysis, onto:
"get you".
In any case, it may help to compare:
"Look at you"

"See you".
"See you" or "Seeya" seems to be short for "I'll be seeing you". In the  
"Look at you", the imperative form seems to indicate:
"Look at yourself".
-- to emphasise the 'you look at yourself', since you can see I am already  
looking at you. The idiom seems to equivocate on the fact that unless there 
is a  mirror around, one will NOT look at oneself (one's nose, for 
--- In any case, this post then to trade on 'compositionality'. I say I  
have caveats, because it seems to me that meaning is GLOBAL, and it's what the 
 utterer globally means that counts. But there is some sense to the idea 
that the  meaning of a complex expression (such as "Get you", or "They don't 
lick it up  off the grass') DEPENDS on the meaning of its constituents. 
It would be up to the Wittgensteinian to see how we can deal with the  
principle of compositionality which the "show, don't tell" adage seems to be  
Witters would possibly rely on OSENSION (which was coined by Augustine of  
Hippo?). But while it is easy to provide an ostension of 'grass', and 
'lick',  and 'they', and 'up', it seems more difficult to provide, by 
the  meaning of 'it' and 'off', and 'the'. 
If 'Get you' is short and re-analysis from "Look at you", while it may easy 
 to provide an ostension of 'look' and 'you', it seems more complicated to  
provide an ostension for 'at', and note that one phenomenon of English  
analyticity (as I was saying) relies on propositions (and phrasal verbs): look  
at you, look after you, look for you, and so on. They all seem to share 
some  meaning of 'look', and the meaning of the more complex expression does 
not just  depend on 'look' and 'you', which can be shown ostensively, but on 
the meaning  of the contribution made by the preposition. 
While prepositions surely all started having a 'physical' or 'spatial'  
meaning, ostension may still be a bother. Not to mention when the preposition  
has sort of disappeared from the surface form, as in "Get you", or there is 
no  preposition involved, but the meaning of 'you' as some sort of object to 
the  action of 'getting' seems to be operating here.
And so on.


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