Subject: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 12:24 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

hm. it's not the first one, but usually i told myself: you're no native speaker, you got it wrong...
but this is a good example:

"A life longer than any man,
it dies each year to be reborn"

Oh yes, i DID think "tree". But i never would've typed that answer, because, like every child knows, a tree does NOT die every year. (there ARE trees dying, doesn't look like autumn...)

such riddles can only be answered "correctly" by google, not by thinking (which reminds me of a commercial: "we don't think, we google". Do we?)



Replies:

Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 12:41 PM
By: Docenspiel

Content:

The answer is trees. Riddles use metaphors. That's what separates them from trivia questions.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 01:28 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

_some_ riddles do. but there is no metaphore in that one. dying is no metaphore for... changing ones dress (_that_ might have been a metaphore for losing leaves).


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 01:47 PM
By: Docenspiel

Content:

Yes, actually it is a metaphor. Allow me to quote Webster's dictionary:

metaphor - a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

Death is the word used in place of losing leaves. When a deciduous tree loses all of its leaves due to season change, it resembles a tree that has lost all of its leaves because it has died. That is the likeness that is being suggested.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 02:04 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

disagree. that's why i suggested an example maybe fitting as metaphor.
a clearly wrong statement about the original subject (the tree dies) does not.

it's tough to create riddles, no question. but good riddles remain logically correct, even if they deal with associations, metaphors or whatsoever.
they show a path to find the answer using reason. not google. in this case, reason would say:
"tree? nah, doesn't die. the leaves? nah, don't get old. maybe mushrooms?" a little closer to it (if the name is used for the fruit AND the whole fungus - one of both dies, one lives on). still not a perfect answer.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 02:12 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

Quote by: klein+a+tuin

disagree. that's why i suggested an example maybe fitting as metaphor.
a clearly wrong statement about the original subject (the tree dies) does not.

EDIT (think i should stress that point): dying doesn't do as metaphor for tree losing leaves because trees really die and that means something different.

it's tough to create riddles, no question. but good riddles remain logically correct, even if they deal with associations, metaphors or whatsoever.
they show a path to find the answer using reason. not google. in this case, reason would say:
"tree? nah, doesn't die. the leaves? nah, don't get old. maybe mushrooms?" a little closer to it (if the name is used for the fruit AND the whole fungus - one of both dies, one lives on). still not a perfect answer.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 02:34 PM
By: Docenspiel

Content:

You're missing the point of metaphors. They're not supposed to be 100% literally true. If you say "Finding this dollar on the ground is the icing on the cake of this day" you're not literally saying that the dollar is icing. You're implying that the dollar has a distinct likeness to the icing in that they are both sweet additions to something that is already nice (the day and the cake). The riddle is not literally saying that the trees die every year. It's implying that the trees have a distinct likeness to being dead in that they both have no leaves.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 02:46 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

The thing about traditional riddles is that (for most of them) you can't use pure reason to arrive at the answer. They use all the devices of poetry, and they're playful, not serious. Moreover, they pretty much never incorporate modern scientific knowledge; quite often they preserve old misconceptions, because that's what 'traditional' means!

In the case of the tree, to recognize the right answer you have to know that, throughout English poetry and folk ballads, death has very, very often been used as a poetic metaphor for what happens to the landscape in winter.

Or... eventually, you just learn what the 'right' answers are, whether they make sense or not!


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 03:51 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

Quote by: Count+Sessine

... whether they make sense or not!


no.

Allow me to quote webster's now:
"riddle
I: a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed"

one of _the_ classical riddles is that of sphinx (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx#The_Riddle_of_the_Sphinx). it even includes a methaphor (if you want so). but it surely includes enough hints to come to an conclusion by logic.

@Docenspiel: "the tree dies every year" is literally wrong. "The tree dies" has a certain meaning and its a different one. Its not a "picture" transformed from one context to another - what makes a metaphor.

and its not a poetical expression, Count, its a profane description which is wrong.

but i see there's no use in discussing this further, if the advice is to "just learn ... whether they make sense or not." that's not how riddling makes any sense.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 04:09 PM
By: Hairy+Mary

Content:

I have no problems with nature dying in winter - that's a use which is so commonplace that it's not even metaphor anymore, it's just natural English language usage. We talk about noise "dying down" as another example of using the word death being used to mean loss of life.

However, there have been other riddles where I have been at a complete loss. After getting them wrong many times I eventually succumb to temptation and google them. There I find an answer that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. So I agree with Tuin in his general point if not his specific example.

I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, in fact I don't recall seeing one for ages, which made me think that they've been gone over and refined.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 05:05 PM
By: Docenspiel

Content:

Quote by: klein+a+tuin


@Docenspiel: "the tree dies every year" is literally wrong. "The tree dies" has a certain meaning and its a different one. Its not a "picture" transformed from one context to another - what makes a metaphor.

As I have said before:
Quote by: Docenspiel


metaphor - a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.[/u]


Quote by: Docenspiel


You're missing the point of metaphors. They're not supposed to be 100% literally true. If you say "Finding this dollar on the ground is the icing on the cake of this day" you're not literally saying that the dollar is icing. You're implying that the dollar has a distinct likeness to the icing in that they are both sweet additions to something that is already nice (the day and the cake). The riddle is not literally saying that the trees die every year. It's implying that the trees have a distinct likeness to being dead in that they both have no leaves.


I'm beginning to think you're not even reading my posts.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 08:23 PM
By: CavemanJoe

Content:

Quote by: klein+a+tuin

Allow me to quote Webster's dictionary



NOOOOOO


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 09:20 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

Quote by: Docenspiel


I'm beginning to think you're not even reading my posts.



well. just to stop You from such horrible thought, i'll try one more time.
to say "the landscape dies" works as a metapher. because landscapes do not literally die, so it is clear, that you're using a meaning, taken from somewhere else, as a picture or analogy to describe something else than dying landscapes do. which is the meaning of Your quotation from Webster's, isn't it.
it works, because "dying" has no literal meaning for landscapes.
for a tree "dying" has. therefor saying "a tree dies" is no metaphor. it has a clear, literal meaning.

did i make the point clear, finally?
why this certain riddle seems to be complete nonsense to me, forcing me to give a wrong answer, reason never would have given (only google. or ixquick, to be true). in fact, even "landscape" would have been a better answer.

riddling is only fun if it's a fair challenge. not a search engine labour.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 10:25 PM
By: Ada

Content:

klein, maybe non-literal use of the word dying is less common in your first language and that's what's giving you trouble with this riddle? In English it's very common to use "die" when we are not really talking about dying at all, even for times we're talking about a thing that physically can die. People will say "I died" a lot when they've been surprised or something - hyperbole and not metaphor in this case, but still, a common way to use "die" in a non-literal context. We still can't point at a tree in winter and say "that tree is dead" if it isn't, no. But in a riddle it's quite fine, and we're also happy to see "die" used non-literally in all kinds of contexts. To us there's no conceptual difference between metaphorically saying that a non-living thing is "dead" and saying that a living thing is "dead". Both are equally possible.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: June 21 2013 @ 10:49 PM
By: klein+a+tuin

Content:

Quote by: Ada

To us there's no conceptual difference between metaphorically saying that a non-living thing is "dead" and saying that a living thing is "dead". Both are equally possible.


thx for resorting things. there may be a bit of a difference, although we also use dying in various non-literal ways even for living beings - like "i'm completely dead" for beeing tired or exhausted.
but the basic problem seems to be the idea of riddling. in a riddle, every word is a hint. and a wrong hint...

so a metaphorical use would work, but pure "slang" won't.

anyway. i'm completely dead now and the topic seems the same to me.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: November 26 2013 @ 09:39 AM
By: Fibriel+Solaer

Content:

The riddle doesn't just say that trees die every year. It says they are reborn every year, and that's... well. Obvious?

Your objection to such a clear metaphor just tells me that you are quite unfamiliar with riddles, as they easily get an awful lot more stretchy and questionable than this. You admitted that you thought "tree" - so obviously you understood the metaphor.

Are you just complaining for the sake of complaining..?


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: November 26 2013 @ 05:19 PM
By: Count+Sessine

Content:

Please keep this forum friendly in tone. Also, it's fine to go through the archives to get a feel for the Island, but if an argument is months-old, don't resurrect the thread just to castigate someone who probably isn't even going to see your post. Try to avoid this: http://xkcd.com/386/


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: December 19 2013 @ 04:55 AM
By: maithly

Content:

* Instigators are the people who start action. Doesn't matter what the action is, they start it full cloth out of nowhere. No one really gave them that prompt. It may be something as simple as a tea ceremony. It may be something as complicated as being chased by the outpost guards, but something happens with the instigator. Something that begs some sort of reaction.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: December 23 2013 @ 05:40 PM
By: Snow

Content:

I had an issue with the Cryptic Questions Joker as well.

I pass before the sun but make no shadow.

"wind" was not accepted as an answer.

I've engaged in some riddling previously and this was always an accepted answer. I've started wondering if it's not demanding things like "The" in front of certain answers or case sensitivity. Is it really so particular?


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: December 23 2013 @ 08:50 PM
By: hajen

Content:

Quote by: Snow

I had an issue with the Cryptic Questions Joker as well.

I pass before the sun but make no shadow.

"wind" was not accepted as an answer.

I've engaged in some riddling previously and this was always an accepted answer. I've started wondering if it's not demanding things like "The" in front of certain answers or case sensitivity. Is it really so particular?



i'm not saying that 'wind' is not a valid answer, but according to unscrupulous sources the expected answer is 'the air'.

as concerning articles, such as 'the', i have not found the cryptic joker to be sensitive to them when accepting an answer.



edit:
p.s. just noticed... this was an excellent first post And welcome to the forums


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: December 24 2013 @ 01:38 AM
By: Snow

Content:

Thank you.

I'm glad to have improbably stumbled upon Improbable Island.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: July 22 2015 @ 01:37 PM
By: Corinne

Content:

"A veiny rope,
With a flolloping slap,
I'll stay tucked inside,
'Til I slip through a gap."

Um... Yuck.


Re: correct riddles?

Posted on: August 20 2015 @ 04:08 PM
By: Kew

Content:

I do know the answer to that one, and I will tell you if you like. It is pretty gross though.


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