Five trivial items of notes in re my thesis

1. On Friday, after using yet another example culled from the death of Julius Caesar, I changed the title (temporarily) of the thesis to “A thesis on the Death of Julius Caesar, plus occasional musings about the Epistemology of Conspiracy Theories.”

2. Half my footnotes are mere reminders to myself to make sure the thesis cross references itself in the final edit. About half of the remaining non-reference-y footnotes will likely not survive the final cull.

Except for the Bibiography footnote. That stays.

3. Sometimes, to avoid criticism from my supervisors, I pre-empt the critique with a square-bracketed section explaining that I know the section is awkward/incomplete or frustratingly vague. From time to time I think this is cheating on my part, although it can be due to not knowing how else to express something at the time.

4. I think I know how to turn this into a publishable book, long-term; I’ve already got short snippets (% out in the actual LaTeX files) of extension material in the main body of the thesis sections for careful elaboration at some future date.

Of course, by the time I finish this thesis I probably won’t want to expand on these sections ever again.

5. All my previous work has had references to aardvarks. The current work does not. This displeases me.


So (3) works, does it [it seems so easy]?

(4) I will not read your book if it contains phrases like “I’ve already got short snippets .”

(5) is intractable.

Well, if we accept that the shortness of a extract (a snippet) is relative to the size of the surrounding chunks of text, then it follows that snippets can be of variable length (in this relative sense) and thus I can have, and do have, short snippets.

The shortness of your snippets is not my concern, which is your use of “I’ve already got.”

Ah, so it’s merely prejudice against the New Zealand vernacular on your part and thus not an item of real concern to the rest of us.

I will not read you book if it contains bad writing. I am letting you know now, to avoid any misunderstanding later.

If your complaint is about the use of “have got” (a mixture of the so-called ‘passive’ and ‘active’ tenses) then I can’t help you. “Have got” is recognised as a naturally occurring utterance of native English speakers and shows that the ‘active/passive’ distinction is as arbitrary a distinction as linguists have said it is (for about thirty years now).

Which makes sense. Latin grammar does not apply to English, despite what advocates of the three Rs continue to maintain.

The word “got” is ugly and redundant, here as in most cases. The verb “have” is sufficient.

I agree that “got” is redundant (although English features many redundant features in common speech) but ugly… That’s subjective.

Also, in New Zealand English at least, “have got” is past perfect vs. “have” which is perfect.; compare the different meanings of “I have seven bikes” with “I have got seven bikes” There is a semantic difference

The past perfect of “have” is “had.” Your sentences have the same meaning, unless you are using got to mean “acquire.”

The use of “got” is not New Zealand English but a vulgarism common throughout the English speaking world.

It may be a vulgarism elsewhere but it is a recognised feature of New Zealand English. I’ve checked with a linguist.

bi -- IJI says:

Well, come to think of it, the “I’ve got” doesn’t really make sense when one tries to break it down. If “I’ve got short snippets” is the present perfect form, then what’s the corresponding present form? “I get short snippets”?

But even though it doesn’t make sense, yet it still makes ‘sense’ in a sort of gut-feeling way. Who said natural languages have to be logical? 🙂

From Merriam-Webster Online:

get[… meanings:]10 a : HAVE —used in the present perfect tense form with present meaning <I’ve got no money> b : to have as an obligation or necessity —used in the present perfect tense form with present meaning <you have got to come>

* * *

Also, what’s with the part about making sure that “the thesis cross references itself”? I don’t get it…

— bi