An English In Kentucky


















 Thursday August 25th 2016Tim Candler9


     There's a big investment in devising mathematical models that will enable computers to better use language. There are problems naturally. Whatever you want to think, language lacks precision and logic, and when language does become precise it actually stops being language and it becomes something else. As well, the spoken word is often beautifully accented. "A tar" might be "a tire" and a "a tire" might be a term for an extraordinarily boring person. The written word is then subject to the joining of ideas in sentences, so something like - A predictable inequality, lessons from Marx, Hayek and trade unions from the transatlantic discourse - depends upon how the mathematical model will, as they call it, pars the phrases so that the computer won't just be a dictionary, a form that has to be precisely filled in, but can be spoken to and can talk back, otherwise something awful might happen and sometime in the future a delivery drone deposits a very boring person on the back step.



       My own current problem, as an upright and enthusiastic apprentice to the Pressure Canning Community, is comprehending my own voluminous notes. I would call them aids to memory, but memory for some of us is a thing of the past and far too old fashioned to take seriously. So I think what I have to do, especially in the recipe area, is work on some sort of master list of Responsible Words, which would mean doing completely away with things like "small dollop of" and replace them with something like teaspoons. The thing about the "dollop" is that it's far too subjective, depends almost entirely upon mood and how kindly one is feeling toward something like the Asian Pears after having spent almost six hours peeling, coring and dicing them. The other thing I really have to do is work on practicing my handwriting, sixty five percent of which defies interpretation. A second batch of particularly zesty Tomato sauce was cruelly invigorated by my reading of what clearly wasn't "One medium dollop."


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