Norms of written English (was... was... was...)

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 18:15:42 EDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Norms of written English (was... was... was...)"

    > The norms of written English are determined
    > exclusively by Hartree-Fock approximations.

    ...which is John Cowan's clever way of indicating that
    for English, every writer is influenced by every other
    writer, rather than following some predefined set of
    rules. Figuring out the norm for English is a little
    like calculating the "wavefunction" of all the writers,
    and for that, you examine them one at a time and
    calculate their individual wavefunctions, in terms of
    their influence by the "potential" of all the others.
    Then you repeat that process for each of the others,
    and then cycle through the entire process for everybody until
    the resultant wavefunction stabilizes.

    Of course, the English atom is continually perturbed
    by all the other linguistic atoms, and there is no
    guarantee that a Hartree-Fock approximation would
    actually settle towards a norm -- the behavior might
    actually be chaotic. ...
    Ou7fit5 w4r3z cUltUr3 4nd L337 haxOr dOOds \/\/17h clO7hIng
    4nD Oth3r f1n3 4cc355Or13s. 1 4/\/\ Ow|\|1nG 7|-|15 570r3!!
    {You will now be returned to your original writer...}
    So you never really know what might actually happen
    to written English, given a little time. ;-)


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