Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

Re: [Rabbits] Adding More Characters to AYAW??

  • FromJeff Zeitlin <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 18 Sep 2007 14:36:36 -0400
On Tue, 18 Sep 2007 11:01:49 -0700, you wrote to Freelance Traveller:

>> From: Jeff Zeitlin <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Your correction directed at me - the less ambiguous construction of
>> "When the the Face Hugger dies, he or she may silence another player for
>> the rest of the game." - is in fact correct and would have clarified the
>> issue admirably - but it should have been directed to Maria, rather than
>> to me.

>Sorry about that--once e-mail replies get nested about three deep, I
>lose track of culpability.

Don't sweat it; that sort of thing can be easy to overlook.  I do tend
to be somewhat formal in my writing; please don't read that as the same
sort of 'stiffness' or 'anger' that indicates a negative emotional
response to a comment - it's just my writing style.

>So you're only 'to blame' for giving German props for having a pronoun
>(?) or construction of a pronoun (?) that would have 'aimed' the casting
>back of "they" squarely at the subject, rather than at the object (the
>"most-recent noun read"). By the way, how is that done in German--a
>suffix, maybe? A different pronoun all-together (i.e. there's "object"
>versus "subject" pronouns, in addition to gender, person, and

It's called 'grammatical case', and in German it involves different
words used as pronouns.  I don't remember specifically which case would
have been used in the parallel German construction, nor which specific
word, but if I recall correctly, the German for 'they' in that
construction would have been one of 'sie', 'ihr', 'ihn', or 'ihnen'. The
four cases are called 'nominative', 'accusative', 'genitive', and
'dative'; nominative is a rough match to the 'subject' of the sentence;
'accusative' is a rough match to the direct object of the sentence;
'genitive' is, if I recall correctly, an associational case, similar to
but not restricted to possessive, and I have no recollection of the
usage of the dative case.

>Maria's 'to blame' for the initial ambiguity... which, I'd say, isn't
>even ambiguous because the most-recent noun cast-back tendency is
>natural in English (i.e. in English, "they" was UNambiguously referring
>to the object, the way she wrote it).

Well, given the subsequent comments, it obviously *was* ambiguous,
because she wrote it with one intent, and some readers - but apparently
not all - read it with a different intent.

>And I'm 'to blame' for not following thread nesting and for pointing
>fingers. I should (and could) have just mentioned the (UN)ambiguity and
>shown the correction, without blame. I guess my love of my language got
>my hackles up (hence the mention of "prickly pedant"). Again... sorry
>for that.

In any case, I'm not sure that 'blame' really applies; I just see it as
a case of 'there was ambiguity; it became evident that the ambiguity was
confusing some people; therefore, the ambiguity required clarification'.
It's clarified; that's what's important.  The side discussion on
language and case is perhaps interesting to 'lingeeks' (among whom I
consider myself to be numbered) - but that's all it is, a side

Now: A question for the assembled: I had a beautiful clear plastic box
and board made up for my Icehouse pieces; in conformance to tradition, I
called it my Icebox.  However, it's accumulated other things - dice,
Martian Coasters, Zendo stones, and now my other Looney Labs games -
Fluxx, Aquarius, Chrononauts, and so on.  Given that, would it be proper
to continue to call it an Icebox, or would it perhaps be more proper to
adopt the nomenclature of it being my 'Looney Bin' - and what do the
Looneys think of the latter nomenclature?