[tlhIngan Hol] unless they're stupid

Lawrence M. Schoen klingonguy at gmail.com
Sun Jun 23 10:33:05 PDT 2019

On Sun, Jun 23, 2019 at 1:12 PM mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> *There is a klingon, a table, and a chair. And I say to the klingon
> {yIba'}. *
> *Doesn't it stand to reason, that the klingon will understand "sit at the
> chair" ? Unless he's a moron, or has some table fetish, he *will*
> understand, "sit at the chair".*

Yes and no.

Consider the first of Grice's Rules of Conversation, the Maxim of
Quantity: one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as
much information as is needed, and no more.

Have you given enough information? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm a big guy. I used to be even bigger (well over 300 lbs), and so I got
in the habit of looking closely at a chair before I sat in it, because it's
more than a little embarrassing to have a chair collapse out from under
you. In my experience, most tables are sturdier than most chairs, and on
more than one occasion I've opted to sit on a table instead of a chair. The
factor driving this choice is obesity, not stupidity.

Or the chair could appear to be dirty or marred in some way whereas the
table is not.

Or perhaps I'm expecting someone else to arrive and since there's only the
one chair I'll sit on the table to leave it for the next person.

And on and on. You don't need to invoke brain damage or fetishism (though
sure, either could be in play) to explain the response.

Grice. He knew a thing or two about language.
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