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Rama
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:28:56 AM
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Hi guys. Do you find ambiguity in these two sentences?
1. Do Americans call cushions what the British call pillow?
2. John introduced himself to everyone that Mary did.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:50:21 AM

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The first one sounds OK to me (except that it should be "pillows"). Being British, I would say "Do Americans call cushions 'pillows'?"

The second could be ambiguous depending on context:
Mary was painting portraits of various people. John introduced himself to everyone that Mary did. This could mean that John introduced himself to everyone she painted.
jmacann
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:50:39 AM
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1. Do U.S. citizens call a cushion what the British call a pillow?
2. John introduced himself to everyone Mary had just introduced herself to.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:56:00 AM

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Rama wrote:
Hi guys. Do you find ambiguity in these two sentences?
1. Do Americans call cushions what the British call pillow?
2. John introduced himself to everyone that Mary did.


1. I don't know that we Americans and British use different names for these. If so, it's new to me.

A cushion is what one sits upon on a sofa or chair, usually. A pillow is what you place your head upon in a bed. However, one can lie down upon the cushions of a sofa and use a pillow for the head. See the difference? One usually sits on a cushion, but not a pillow, at least in AE. It is not absolutely the case every time(you can ask to or sit on a pillow), but in general we sit on cushions.

2. I am not sure how to read this sentence. Are John and Mary together at an event so that they both would be introducing themselves? It would seem so, but then the wording should be, "John and Mary introduced themselves to the same people."

Otherwise, it seems John is following Mary, introducing himself to each person to whom she introduces herself. I suppose it could be done, as in a greeting line.

In which case it should read, "John followed Mary in introducing himself to each person." or

"John followed Mary, introducing himself to each person."

If John is following Mary around the room, introducing himself to everyone she introduces herself to, then she needs to call security...(but perhaps I should not joke?).

Hope1
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 3:36:29 PM
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As a digression - Cushion and pillow can be used interchangeably when referring to a cloth/leather case filled with stuffing. Cushion can have more meanings - to cushion oneself against inflation etc. Probably they are the same in both countries.

[When in doubt about the meanings of words, a dictionary is a very good asset. -:)]


To answer your question - Neither of your statements was ambiguous to me. I knew exactly what you were stating.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 3:49:18 PM
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Nope, there's no ambiguity. Sentence 1 is a question concerning cushions and pillows in regards to American and British semantics. Sentence 2 states that John introduced himself to the same people that Mary did.

Rama wrote:
Hi guys. Do you find ambiguity in these two sentences?
1. Do Americans call cushions what the British call pillow?
2. John introduced himself to everyone that Mary did.
IMcRout
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 4:42:00 PM
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Apart from the 'pillows' issue that Drag0nspeaker already mentioned I cannot comment on the first sentence.

Dirty old man that I am, I can however imagine a sexual connotation in 'everyone that Mary did'. I remember reading the summary of a porn film from the 70s (??) titled "Debby Does Dallas".
Although I never saw that film there was no doubt about what 'does' meant in the context.
No ambiguity there.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:23:08 PM
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Right so... no ambiguity here or there.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:25:25 PM
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Where?

RubyMoon wrote:
Right so... no ambiguity here or there.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:29:34 PM
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On cushions or pillows? Pillow also has a sexual connotation.

IMcRout wrote:
Apart from the 'pillows' issue that Drag0nspeaker already mentioned I cannot comment on the first sentence.

Dirty old man that I am, I can however imagine a sexual connotation in 'everyone that Mary did'. I remember reading the summary of a porn film from the 70s (??) titled "Debby Does Dallas".
Although I never saw that film there was no doubt about what 'does' meant in the context.
No ambiguity there.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:31:21 PM
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nowherenothere wrote:

Where?

RubyMoon wrote:
Right so... no ambiguity here or there.


agree with your post nowhere... no ambiguity re OP question.

agree with IMc... no ambiguity re his sexual "take" & explanation

RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:37:54 PM
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not here did you say PILLOW?
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:40:00 PM
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uh huh, PILLOW.


RubyMoon wrote:

did you say PILLOW?
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:41:06 PM
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don't distract me--- am trying to read The Screwtape Letters.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:53:59 PM
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Thus the problem with ending sentences with infinitives. The meaning becomes implicit and is usually inferred from context. It does raise questions concerning ambiguity and can lead to an arbitrary interpretation, but only if it explcitely matters what Mary did. The inference is that Mary introduced herself to people, the same people to whom John introduced himself. It's considered poor form to end sentences with infinitives.

Drag0nspeaker wrote:
The first one sounds OK to me (except that it should be "pillows"). Being British, I would say "Do Americans call cushions 'pillows'?"

The second could be ambiguous depending on context:
Mary was painting portraits of various people. John introduced himself to everyone that Mary did. This could mean that John introduced himself to everyone she painted.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:55:52 PM
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For example, James Clavell used the verb form of PILLOW explicitely in Shogun.


RubyMoon wrote:
don't distract me--- am trying to read The Screwtape Letters.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 5:59:34 PM
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nowhere-- you're a bad boy... making me Drool all over my book!
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:01:15 PM
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nowherenothere wrote:

For example, James Clavell used the verb form of PILLOW explicitely in Shogun.


RubyMoon wrote:
don't distract me--- am trying to read The Screwtape Letters.



cite the page, the paragraph...gimme CONTEXT
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:38:41 PM
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The page references are nearly too numerous to mention there dear Ruby. It is repetitious throughout the book. The context is such that one person pillows with another, most often after asking nicely in an affectionate manner or otherwise demanding, and often upon some form of cushion.

Great story too, in my opinion.

RubyMoon wrote:
nowherenothere wrote:

For example, James Clavell used the verb form of PILLOW explicitely in Shogun.


RubyMoon wrote:
don't distract me--- am trying to read The Screwtape Letters.



cite the page, the paragraph...gimme CONTEXT
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:43:23 PM
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I remember now, "pillowing"... yes, it is a beautiful story-- watched the series many times.
Thanks for the reference.
Strange , there was no actual pillow... her head was on a little block; her bed, the floor.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:46:15 PM
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The novel was better. I was disappointed with the miniseries.

RubyMoon wrote:
I remember now, "pillowing"... yes, it is a beautiful story-- watched the series many times.
Thanks for the reference.
Strange , there was no actual pillow... her head was on a little block; her bed, the floor.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:50:03 PM
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I see... either way the concept is there... softens the art of love-making.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:53:05 PM
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Without ambiguity?

RubyMoon wrote:
I see... either way the concept is there... softens the art of love-making.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:54:47 PM
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yes, without ambiguity.
how could it exist with such love and passion?
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 6:59:34 PM
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Any idea when The Screwtape Letters will be released in cinema?

RubyMoon wrote:
yes, without ambiguity.
how could it exist with such love and passion?
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 7:02:06 PM
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It's an old book... I think the film version was attempted, but proved unsuccessful.
Thank you.
nowherenothere
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:12:56 PM
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I did not know it was released. I thought it was going to roll out of the Narnia films. In any event, Puss In Boots is soon to be released in theaters, if it's not already out.

RubyMoon wrote:
It's an old book... I think the film version was attempted, but proved unsuccessful.
Thank you.
RubyMoon
Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:18:59 PM
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I find that information both interesting and quite useful.
Again, I have to thank you for shedding *light* on the matter.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, October 2, 2011 2:07:33 AM
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To RubyMoon:

"I see... either way the concept is there... softens the art of love-making."

I think it also implies that there *is* an art to love-making.
Ravindra
Posted: Sunday, October 2, 2011 8:27:53 AM
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Rama
I am in agreement with Hope1's deduction.

"No comment" is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.
Winston Churchill
RubyMoon
Posted: Sunday, October 2, 2011 3:58:15 PM
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Marissa La Faye Isolde wrote:
To RubyMoon:

"I see... either way the concept is there... softens the art of love-making."

I think it also implies that there *is* an art to love-making.


To Marissa: by my saying "it softens the art of love-making", I definitely mean to imply there *is* an art to love-making.

I love this song&lyrics... Ray Charles--

For I never knew the art of making love,
Though my heart aches with love for you.
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by.
A chance that you might love me too.


also, Erich Fromm's work: The Art of Loving
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Sunday, October 2, 2011 9:03:04 PM
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To RubyMoon:

Yes, *I* know this was your implication; but I wasn't sure if anyone else understood this. (I just left the thread about "shrimp boats" and, "clams and mussels" which, cast a shadow across my mind.:)

Yes, I am very familiar with Eric Fromm's The Art of Loving. I have, I believe, all of his books. Its good to know that you and possibly other forum members are acquainted with his works too.

The Ray Charles lyrics I don't think I have ever heard...I'm not sure. Maybe if I heard the song I might recognize it.

excaelis
Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011 4:58:50 PM

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I'd differentiate between pillows and cushions : pillows go on beds, cushions are just pets for furniture ( chubby little bastards ). Do we really need cushions to protect us from our soft furnishings ?

" Pillow-biter " was a significant insult in English for a long period.

Slightly off-topic, " The Pillow Book Of Sei Shonagon " is a completely wonderful book, and everyone should read it.

Marissa and Kitten, I think you'd both particularly enjoy it, if you haven't already read it.
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