Subject: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 11 2009 @ 09:45 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

Can anyone tell me, why do you talk 'in character', but 'out OF character'? Why the extra word for what are dual concepts?



Replies:

Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 11 2009 @ 11:42 PM
By: g_rock

Content:

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Can anyone tell me, why do you talk 'in character', but 'out OF character'? Why the extra word for what are dual concepts?



If I'm not mistaken, I think it's because of your...positioning, as it were. The description of something as "In" something else gives it an exact place of existence. You can't, however, just be "Out" something, so you need the preposition to place yourself relative to whatever it is, in this case the character. You can, of course, ignore this convention of the english language if you're a rapper (out the box, off the hook, etc)

And, because that description was about as clear as mud...
IMPROBABILITY!


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 12:57 AM
By: Ada

Content:

Idiomatic usage!
In the same way as you are "out of time".

I honestly don't think it is any deeper than that. If I had access to the OED I could probably give you a better answer, but it would probably just end with the same answer. Idioms: they be confusin'.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 02:58 AM
By: Jay+Chaos

Content:

Now that you've said it... In portuguese we have the same stuff!

In character = no personagem
Inside of the box = dentro da caixa (or In the box = na caixa)
Outside of character = fora do personagem
Outside of the box = fora da caixa (but no Outside the box = Fora a caixa, this is wrong)

Our "da" is a contraction of your "of the", being of = "de", and the = "a"... De+a = da.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 03:19 AM
By: Omega

Content:

Easy! The "of" Is filling the character so you can get out!


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 03:36 AM
By: Allison+Garnette

Content:

Quote by: Omega

Easy! The "of" Is filling the character so you can get out!




Of course, how could I not have thought of that!
Big Grin


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 03:38 AM
By: Jay+Chaos

Content:

Ahhh...

I don't need to know the truth anymore... Omega answer was the best. I'll stay with it.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 03:41 AM
By: Omega

Content:

Wha'did I tell you? 8D Just remember to bring cookies to thank it for taking your place. Else you'll get reported and the character will break the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh wall out of anger.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 04:32 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

G's onto something, and I think it comes down to this in this case: being 'out of' character is a declared state, one that necessarily demands at least two states for the actor (in character, out of character), and might demand someone else's projected perspective to decide what the actor's state is. A roleplayer can declare that they're out of character; or your friend can remark that you're acting out of character if you're being unusually snippy. Other projected / subjective relationships come up when people are talking about, for instance, a dog being right of that tree. Whose right? Is it my right, or is it your right? (These, btw, are more formally known as projective static adpositions; you can wiki it if you're curious. I initially typed up a whole long explanation and then realized the reaction I'd get would be [tyres squeal, dogs bark, eyes glaze.])

So.. because the relationship you're expressing is projective, you've got to have that of there. There's that explanation, but that brings us back to the original question. Why is "out of character" okay when "in of character" is totally bad?

It's got something to do with the special properties of of. I'm not a semanticist. It may because in usually takes the objective case while out usually takes what's called the of-genitive, which is a sort of genitive where whatever's doing the possessing gets expressed as a prepositional phrase and of postmodifies whatever's being possessed. Contestants of the Island, admin of the site, this sort of thing.

That explanation is good for this..:

✔ in the Outpost
X in of the Outpost
X out the Outpost
✔ out of the Outpost

But, uh! That might be me talking out of my ass? I've just cross-pollenated two theories of argument structure in contemporary theoretical semantics.

[tyres squeal, dogs bark, eyes glaze.]

Uh, right then!

*zips off*


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 05:05 AM
By: Jay+Chaos

Content:

Since i didn't understood anything Z just said, AND since Omega explanation rules... I'm still with Omega's.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 07:56 AM
By: Daedalus

Content:

Perhaps more a logician's thoughts, rather than a grammarian's, but here goes:

Without detracting from G or Z's explanations*, I think I'd probably explain it in terms of wanting to focus what you are saying as being about what locus you are in or out of, rather than the relationship of being 'in' or 'out'.

To say you are in (locus) is self explanatory in terms of the object to which the relationship is being stated. It's inherently specific. Thus it could be rendered as: Considering all the (locii) I could be at ... (locus) is where I am. The negative form isn't focussed on the fact that I'm somewhere else, it's about the fact that I'm not 'there'. Both forms are automatically focussed on a location.

In contrast, to say that you are outside (locus) leaves open the question "what are you talking about, the fact that A: you are somewhere else (not specified), or that B: you are not in a particular place (specified.)?

Using 'of' specifies that the relationship (outside) under consideration is specifically between you and (locus), and not you and other unspecified locii. Thus it could be rendered as: Considering all the locii I could be, (locus) is not where I am. It avoids the question "where, that is not '(locus)', are you?", because you've already contextually limited the relationship under consideration as between 'you' and '(specific locus)'.

So, this focussing isn't really adding anything useful when I'm talking about being within something, but can be useful when I'm talking about being outside of (!) something.

Putting it another way ... using 'of' attempts to cloak us in a focus on the locus. Mr. Green

That's about my two bobs worth!

D.

PS: it also reduces confusion in incomplete or contracted forms. Consider: "Get out of the kitchen" and "Get out the kitchen". Get the kitchen out of what?


* nor Omega's, for that matter.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 08:30 AM
By: monsterzero

Content:

Speaking as someone with a linguistics degree from Berkeley...

You guys are nuts. Trying to find logic amongst the prepositions is like looking for Cheetos floating in intergalactic space. There ain't any.

The theories that purport to explain which prepositions are assigned to which locative, genitive, temporal or causal relationships are ex post facto stamp-collecting with no predictive value. This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 12:17 PM
By: Daedalus

Content:

Monsterzero ... I afraid I must disagree. There are so cheetos floating in intergalactic space. Are so are so are so! There, now we've got that settled.

D.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 01:22 PM
By: Kuroiten

Content:

Quote by: Daedalus Consider: "Get out of the kitchen" and "Get out the kitchen".


I got a lovely set of mental images for the comparison: for the first condition, someone being forcibly moved out of a kitchen ("Get out of the kitchen!" "Okay, okay, I'm going!"). For the second condition, someone producing a kitchen from, say, a top-hat ("Get out the kitchen!" "Okay, I got it out! Now what?").


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 02:56 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

Cheers for all the answers. I've learnt some interesting stuff here. I'm going with Monster0. A Berkeley linguistics degree has to count for something. It's all just pretty much random (the linguistic usage, not the degree). Portugese works the same as English (in this case) either by coincidence, or possibly because both languages inherited this construction from Latin.

Nice to know about 'projective static adpositions' Zol. Even if in the end they weren't especially relevant in this case.

Now I know to bring cookies, next time I'm out of character. Thank you Omega. Should make role playing smoother.

I look forward to seeing Cheetos from outer space, coming soon to an outpost near you. Big Grin


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 04:02 PM
By: Paul+Lo

Content:

*shuffle* *shuffle*

There you are, you foul Fourth Wall! I shall smite you with randomness and mindblogging logic that exists only in my mind!

Derp.

Since you can fight said Fourth Wall, there is no reason to be logcial nor to make sense. You can be redundant, repeat yourself and others, write about your inside thoughts or out of character shouting. That's the Improbable Island.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 07:25 PM
By: Ada

Content:

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

Cheers for all the answers. I've learnt some interesting stuff here. I'm going with Monster0. A Berkeley linguistics degree has to count for something. It's all just pretty much random (the linguistic usage, not the degree). Portugese works the same as English (in this case) either by coincidence, or possibly because both languages inherited this construction from Latin.

Nice to know about 'projective static adpositions' Zol. Even if in the end they weren't especially relevant in this case.

Now I know to bring cookies, next time I'm out of character. Thank you Omega. Should make role playing smoother.

I look forward to seeing Cheetos from outer space, coming soon to an outpost near you. Big Grin



Actually, Latin doesn't use the genitive for out of character, out of the kitchen, etc. It's ex+ ablative case. Usually. Latin likes its exceptions.

Further evidence that language makes very little sense. Blame the barbarians.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 08:32 PM
By: Adder+Moray

Content:

It's the English language. It's about as consistent, and makes about as much sense, as the island.


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 08:43 PM
By: Omega

Content:

Quote by: Adder+Moray

It's the English language. It's about as consistent, and makes about as much sense, as the island.



Well. I DO find that it makes sense. Not to say that people find my logic applicable.....


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 12 2009 @ 09:16 PM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Quote by: monsterzero

Speaking as someone with a linguistics degree from Berkeley...

You guys are nuts. Trying to find logic amongst the prepositions is like looking for Cheetos floating in intergalactic space. There ain't any.

The theories that purport to explain which prepositions are assigned to which locative, genitive, temporal or causal relationships are ex post facto stamp-collecting with no predictive value. This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.



Whoa, there, Silver! This shit has to be predictive? Then give me some corpora and we'll come up with some descriptive analyses, but just observing that "out" and "of" is vastly more likely to cooccur than "in" and "of" are to cooccur.. doesn't seem to me to say very much except 'these things usually fit together.' Y'all still have to do some ex post facto stamp collecting, otherwise, you've just got a big pile of percentage stamps.

And shame on you, HM.

A Berkeley linguistics degree has to count for something.


Rolling Eyes

Laughing Out Loud


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 13 2009 @ 12:46 AM
By: monsterzero

Content:

Quote by: Zolotisty

Y'all still have to do some ex post facto stamp collecting, otherwise, you've just got a big pile of percentage stamps.


OK. The opposite of out of isn't in, it's in to. The of and to denote changing situations. In this case, character can metaphorically contain the subject. One goes into or comes out of character. Or statically, one can be in character or out character...whoops. So the opposite of out of is both in and in to.

There are isomorphisms with other languages. They may be cognate. They may be borrowed. In the end, the real reason I say out of is that my mother said it, and not enough of my peers disagreed to make me stop saying it when I got older.

And shame on you, HM.

A Berkeley linguistics degree has to count for something.

Rolling Eyes

Laughing Out Loud [/p]

I can open an imported beer with a cigarette lighter. Does that count?


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 13 2009 @ 01:09 AM
By: Zolotisty

Content:

Quote by: monsterzero

I can open an imported beer with a cigarette lighter. Does that count?



YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS


Re: Calling for all grammarians. Help wanted.

Posted on: December 16 2009 @ 10:55 AM
By: omenesia

Content:

I haven't been reading it long, but I'd be surprised if the blog Language Log hasn't had a post at some point about this. I'm amazed that I even read it, considering how much I dislike the English language, and grammar in particular.

That being said, I'd have to agree with monsterzero. You're "in"(side) your character, and then your "out"(side) your character, kind of like 1st and 3rd person.


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