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Hypercorrection

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Hypercorrection

Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:36 am

Lucus wrote:Let me explain my general principle for Latinity, then specifically we'll look at the scena/plodere matter.

My general principle is to utilize Classical Latin as the massive foundation it is for my own Latin. But if I thought Latin had lived and died with Cicero (or his aera), I wouldn't be so interested in Latin spoken today, or be a minor author of Latina recentior, ut aiunt. To converse today, with all our modern technology, history, and terminology, we cannot use only the words of Cicero. We use them first, then neologize as necessary.

So then, on to scena/plodere. I was first informed of this discrepancy through Vox Latina by Allen, which notes how urban Romans in the Classical aera were aware of the "rural" vowel shift of ae->e and au->o, which took hold in much of Italian and Spanish, as we know. (Really, this vowel shift was strongly influenced by Italians who came from Umbrian or Oscan speaking regions; in these native languages, the vowel shifts ae->e and au->o had already occurred, so they superimposed this upon Latin, and helped to shift it going into Vulgar Latin.) So, Roman grammarians were keen to correct letus as laetus and orum as aurum.

But the original verb was indeed plodere. This can be seen in its compounds: explodere, implodere, etc. "Plaudere" cannot be the original, writes Allen on page 61, since then the compounds would be "explūdere," "implūdere," as in con+claudere = conclūdere. Quintilian also mentions that old comedies would invite applause with "plodite." Suetonius relates that Vespasian said "plostra," and Metius Florus instructed him to say "plaustra." The next day, Vespasian called him "Flaurus," which I think is hilarious.

So it must be "scena" as much as it must be "sceptrum," not "scaeptrum," another hypercorrection. I seek to imitate the Classical Romans — but I will not ape their errors.

Back in the general view of Latinity, I certainly advocate and speak of the Latin standard today as Classical Latin and the Classical Latin Pronunciation. Similarly, we may say that Standard Italian can be called Classical Italian, Classical Italian being from Petrarch to some unmarked period in the past — really, it's just Standard Italian. This is different from Italian dialect, such as Neapolitan — much as I enjoy but do not cultivate the Vulgar Latin dialects of Mediaeval Latin, like German Latin (Carmina Burana, for example), I will take pleasure in Italian dialect, but for comedy's sake mostly, which is how Italians view dialect as well.

A great example of the Standard versus Classical Italian can be seen in Mozart's Don Giovanni, the libretto for which having been written in Classical Italian by the illustrious Lorenzo da Ponte. Lorenzo da Ponte, in the aria known as the "serenata," wrote "il zucchero." But as any modern Italian will tell you, one says "lo zucchero" — all masculine words beginning with "z" take the article "lo," and not "il." And if I said "il zucchero" in Italy today, I would be politely corrected, for "il zucchero" is quite impossible.

Da Ponte did not write "il zucchero" as a hypercorrection, but as an acceptable variant at that time, so in this way the case is different from plodere/scena. However, I will not force "il zucchero" on modern Italians just because it is Classical Italian, even based on Da Ponte's usage. In modern Standard Italian, it is incorrect to say "lo zucchero" based on the rules of the language as they have been organized. And since I benefit from knowing that "scaena" and "plaudere" are hypercorrections, I do not used them either.

Amadeus wrote:I think the question revolves around whether plaudere is still a hypercorrection today, after many centuries of common usage.

Hypercorrection—let's discuss it.
De hypercorrectione disputemus.
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Postby thesaurus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:11 am

I had some thoughts regarding this topic, so thank you for making the thread.

My natural response to the issue of correcting hypercorrection was that of Adrianus. Scilicet, that to revise something like an OLD definition in preference of an 'original' derivation is itself unnecessary hypercorrection.

I suppose my viewpoint breaks down into the essential function of language, which is to facilitate the exchange of information between people. We agree on certain conventions in our discourse, and while the justifications for these conventions may either be illogical or not exist at all, they are our conventions none the less. This is why we have developed standardized spelling, punctuation, formatting, etc. After having doing editing work at academic presses, I asked myself some of these questions. I realized at the end of the day what's important is that we've agreed upon a mutual form of discourse and that we abide by these forms. To do otherwise is to introduce discord into our dialog.

Of course, there may be instances in which we ought to amend our conventions, but the reason for this should always be a utilitarian issue. Namely, does the benefit of a new standard outweigh the substantial difficulty in altering our habits? Take the issue of standardized English orthography. Is it outdated and unrepresentative of phonetic English? Yes it is. Is it worth the effort to overhaul the whole system? No, as shown by the long, failed history of English spelling 'reform' movements, not to mention the many other systemic problem inherent in such a shift.

But to return to Latin, I don't see any reason to prefer reconstructed or more 'authentic' word forms. This is especially the case because forms like "plaudere" are prefered by the classical authors we emulate. One may indicate the faulty reasoning of such and such derivation, but that is really besides the point when we are deciding what word to use to communicate today. Like it or not, we have standardized forms of Latin words which have long histories of usage. To change these accepted forms does nothing else than sow confusion and start threads on the subject of hypercorrection.

I have to ask, how far does hyper-hypercorrection go? At what point to we agree on the pronunciation of a word? Should we always choose the most antiquated form? Or, if we prefer to be recentior, do we follow the exemplars of later Latin? In the first case, why not use "potis sum" instead of "possum," or in the latter "hec" for "haec"? We could assuredly orchestrate elaborate arguments arguing for and against every individual word, but I for one choose to save my sanity and accept the dictionary forms.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:14 pm

Like it or not, we have standardized forms of Latin words which have long histories of usage.


More precisely, we have many different spelling options before us, including genetive "Suetoni" for "Suetonii," exempli gratia. There are numerous spelling variations in Latin.

"scena" and "plodere" are just such examples, variants. I think the spelling variant "connection" (versus orthographically correct "connexion") is equally ersatz as "scaena," and the pronunciation "hárassment" fully unnecessary in the same way, thus I do not use them. Still, they are variants. Not all variants are acceptable to me. Thus I choose for myself.

And will also gladly share my opinion with others. ;)
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Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:13 pm

Wikipedia wrote:Hypercorrection is a linguistic phenomenon which may take any of the following forms:
1. an elaborate, prescriptively based correction of common usage, often introduced in an attempt to avoid vulgarity or informality,[citation needed] that results in wording commonly considered clumsier than the usual, colloquial usage;
2. usage that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated;[1]
3. usage that is correct in another language but is not required in English.
4. (also called overcompensation): the effect that results when a student of a new language has learned that certain phones of his or her original language must usually be replaced by another in the studied language, but has not learned when not to replace them (or has learned, but must consciously remind himself of the exceptions and hence sometimes forgets not to replace).[2] (Compare overregularization, which is analogous in that the automatic overriding of a rule must be mastered.) Alternatively the rules for replacement may be applied twice over, as if the relevant word in the studied language were one existing in the original language, thus needing further modification to sound "right" in the studied language.

The way I'm thinking, Classical adoption of "plaudere" and "scena" and such like fall into none of the types of hypercorrection given above. Its use classically was neither clumsy nor some sort of mistake, but deliberate and conventional, derived originally from the will of an urban elite to differentiate itself from the rural classes. That's a wholly different thing. Of course it's contrived, but dialect differentiation is. Convention and conformity within a particular group are the significant things here.
As Thesaurus wrote:I realized at the end of the day what's important is that we've agreed upon a mutual form of discourse and that we abide by these forms. To do otherwise is to introduce discord into our dialog.

To talk of "errors" of the Classical Romans in this context is misplaced, Luke.

Meâ sententiâ, aevo classico usus verbi "plaudere" vel "scaena" vel similum cum ullo genere hypercorrectionis supero conveniens non reperitur. Quòd nonnunquam error neque inelegans erat hoc usus, atqui consuetudo diebus Classicis iam vetus (verò dum saeculo Plauti), cogitata atque conventuum, quae electissimo urbis cupiente se distinguere e decuriis rusticis manaverat. Quod differens est omninó. Certè artificium est, istimodi autem dialectos alio differens esse se facit. Cum sententiâ Thesauri concurro. Non accuratè, Luce, hic de erroribus Romanorum classicorum dicis.
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Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:21 pm

Lucus wrote:More precisely, we have many different spelling options before us..."scena" and "plodere" are just such examples, variants.
I understand it to be more subtle than that. It is a question also of style, because different spellings of the same word may indicate subtle stylistic and meaning differences. If I write "plaudere" I mean something more polite or refined than "plodere", or even imagine myself more polite or refined. I might not like how the distinction came about, but being aware of it helps me to appreciate an author's style better.
Ut intellego, res subtilior est. Etiam scribendi dicendique ratio est, quià orthographiae variae sensus alios et subtiles communicare possunt et communicabunt. Si "plaudere" scribo, sententiam plus politam dicere volo quàm si "plodere" scribam, vel me ipsum plus politum esse cogito quidem si sic scribo. Fortassè me non amare quomodò distinctionem emanavisse. At id me adjutat quod distinctionem agnoscam et deinde subtilitatem auctoris meliùs intelligem.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:48 pm

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Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:23 pm

Lucus wrote:Not so. Number 2 hits it perfectly : usage that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated

So far it's only you who says its incorrect or misunderstood. Certainly OLD & L&S & Thesaurus & I disagree with you.
Tu solus qui id falsum censes. Ego certè atque Thesaurus et OLD et L&S id rectum esse dicunt.

Lucus wrote:Dialect differentiation is rarely contrived. What makes you say that?

It's hardly God-given! I mean it's a social artefact, the result of a particular time, place and social and historical condition.
Non ferè varia a Deo donata sunt. Volo dicere ut varia sunt socialia producta, tempore locoque atque conditionibus peculiaribus et historicis ficta.

Apologies Luke, but I also want to challenge this:
Lucus wrote:I will take pleasure in Italian dialect, but for comedy's sake mostly, which is how Italians view dialect as well.
I know many people think like that, and I find that awfully sad. We forget that, up to 150 years ago, the VAST majority of people in Ireland spoke dialect, the VAST majority of French spoke dialect, and the VAST majority of Italians spoke dialect,—as opposed to a "standard" language. I can only suppose that was the case generally, before national educational reforms. Coincidentally, I spoke recently to an Asian educationalist who talked about the dialect problem for educational reform, and to an Italian teacher near Venice who must ask the children to speak only "Italian" if they have a class visitor. One doesn't want to stand in the way of educational progress and reform, but in the past in Europe people have been made to feel inferior because of their dialects. Standard speech is not in itself superior, but historically it is only the dialect of the dominant group. It's not better speech inherently, but is inevitable for utilitarian reasons, as Thesaurus says.

Me excusas, Luce, at sequentem quoque mordeo: "I will take pleasure in Italian dialect, but for comedy's sake mostly, which is how Italians view dialect as well." Multes scio qui similiter censent, quod tam triste est. Obliviscimur ante tantùm hos centos quinquaginta annos plerum magnum Hibernicorum, similiter Francicorum, similiter Italicorum, dialectom loqui non linguam homogeneam, et suspicor alibi eadem casum esse (ante tempus systemam scholasticam emendandi). Coincidenter cum praefecto scholastico Singapurae noviter fabulatus sum qui problemam dialectorum Singapurae descripsit, et cum magistrâ Italica qui discipulos Italicè loqui requirit dum hospes visitat. Progressionem non negari debet, sed anteà multes erunt qui ratione dialectorum suarum se inferiores sentare facti sunt et consultó. Norma loquendi nationalis superior in ipsâ non est, sed solùm historicè dialectom decuriae quae dominat, etsi inexorabilis talis dialectos rationibus commoditatis, ut dicit Thesaurus.
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Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:42 pm

Lucus wrote:False analogy puts it well. A Roman's point of view: Since these rural people are saying 'scena', like they say 'letus' and 'orum', it's probably just another weird dialect thing on their part; surely it is 'scaena'. False analogy.

Yes, that would be a hypercorrection. Which Roman are you thinking of in particular who thought that?
Ità, id hypercorrectio sit. Cui Romanorum talem sententiam delegas?
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Postby adrianus » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:13 pm

Lucus wrote:Surely you can recognise, my Irish friend, that writing "recognize" is equally deliberate and conventional, while being through false analogy with words of Greek origin that append the suffix '-ize'. An American hypercorrection, a conventional error, a standard mispelling.

And thus how do you regard the very urban and rather standard hypercorrection "It's between he and I?

I don't consider my Irishness any advantage or disadvantage in this matter. I consider your spelling of "mispelling" a misspelling, but I don't consider "recognize" a misspelling. Rather, I see it as a legitimate American spelling. I consider "standard misspelling" a bit of a contradiction in terms but I both recognise and recognize that you mean "not uncommon misspelling", and am delighted that both recognise and recognize are recognised/ized in British English dictionaries as standard spellings. No one has the right to beat me over which I choose to use, happily.
I do approach "It's between he and I?" as a hypercorrection that is not standard but in time may become standardized, that is, accepted authoritatively (although it will never be "standardised").
Latinè non verto quià de linguâ anglicâ loquamur.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:23 pm

adrianus wrote:
Lucus wrote:Surely you can recognise, my Irish friend, that writing "recognize" is equally deliberate and conventional, while being through false analogy with words of Greek origin that append the suffix '-ize'. An American hypercorrection, a conventional error, a standard mispelling.

And thus how do you regard the very urban and rather standard hypercorrection "It's between he and I?

I don't consider my Irishness any advantage or disadvantage in this matter. I consider your spelling of "mispelling" a misspelling,


Indeed! and I would add that it is a repeted typo through negligence! misspelling I mean.

but I don't consider "recognize" a misspelling. Rather, I see it as a legitimate American spelling. I consider "standard misspelling" a bit of a contradiction in terms but I both recognise and recognize that you mean "not uncommon misspelling", and am delighted that both recognise and recognize are recognised/ized in British English dictionaries as standard spellings. No one has the right to beat me over which I choose to use, happily.


Yup, exactly so here is the parallel:

scaena : recognize
scena : recognise

A bit crude, but the comparison on this basis is valid.


I do approach "It's between he and I?" as a hypercorrection that is not standard but in time may become standardized, that is, accepted authoritatively (although it will never be "standardised").
Latinè non verto quià de linguâ anglicâ loquamur.


Ah, but this is merely mob rule, which linguistically displeases you as it does me with regard to dialects. Just because mostly everyone jumps into a swimmingpool of broken glass, doesn't mean that it's right. That's too relativistic. Related threads have covered that topic extensively.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:24 pm

adrianus wrote:
Lucus wrote:False analogy puts it well. A Roman's point of view: Since these rural people are saying 'scena', like they say 'letus' and 'orum', it's probably just another weird dialect thing on their part; surely it is 'scaena'. False analogy.

Yes, that would be a hypercorrection. Which Roman are you thinking of in particular who thought that?
Ità, id hypercorrectio sit. Cui Romanorum talem sententiam delegas?


Why Gaius Omniromanus, of course! ;)
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:27 pm

adrianus wrote:
Lucus wrote:Not so. Number 2 hits it perfectly : usage that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated

So far it's only you who says its incorrect or misunderstood. Certainly OLD & L&S & Thesaurus & I disagree with you.
Tu solus qui id falsum censes. Ego certè atque Thesaurus et OLD et L&S id rectum esse dicunt.


Also, Allen, Vox Latina p. 61, my original source, among Plautus and Terence, are on the side of unaffected spelling.


I agree with you an the dialect appreciation.

And oh! by the way, totally tangential: have you seen John Adams the phaenominal series on HBO? It has to do with Irish dialect and accent. :)
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Postby cdm2003 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:31 pm

Thoughtful discussion...and I'd like to add my two sesterces...

I think trying to forceably standardize any language poses terrible challanges. Thesaurus makes a very good point by asking how far do we go with hypercorrecting. I think everyone here would agree that the Latin of Sir Thomas More and the Latin as spoken when the Black Stone was carved are very, very different species. Is the better usage that which has naturally evolved in the world of neo-latin or that which was recognizable to the Tarquins?

Basing your answer on the original implementation of a word as borrowed from another language is not very useful, because the loaning language itself is evolving (and perhaps even dying out) while it's being borrowed from. It lends itself to a reductio ad absurdum: The lending language must be standardized in order to be correctly borrowed from. Borrowing a word from Greek, for example, means that an agreed upon form of Greek must exist a priori, and if Greek borrowed it...well...

This discussion about "recognize" and "recognise" highlights the point. The former is standard American and the latter is, I believe, standard British. Having no idea how these words are dealt with in England and elsewhere, I can tell you that any student here that spells "recognize" in any way other than with a "z" will find him or herself in possession of a giant red "sp?" on their term paper.

We do have a similar problem in American-English which involves the word "ain't." It's considered either "slang" or "non-standard" or just poor speaking if you use it in many places in our country. Where I live, however, roughly half the people I encounter in my life use it regularly (including myself). I wouldn't use it in any formalized writing, but I use it in speech, probably daily. There's nothing wrong with the word, per se, as it is a properly formed contraction (from "are not" or "is not"). It's use in the South during the 19th century caused it to be associated, at least in Northern eyes, as "poor English." Perhaps they thought it just invoked images of a backwards section of the country or simply was "poor," in the sense that after the Civil War, the South was mostly broke.

Now, consider someone trying to learn our "standard" of English 2,000 years in the future. They'll read our books and see that "ain't" was not recognized as a "standard" word in 2008. But, supposing someone tries using it in a Textkit-of-Tomorrow posting in 4008. They're consequently lambasted for using non-standard language. Is that person wrong for using it, considering a great deal of Americans today use it and all at least recognize what it means? Even William F. Buckley would know what I'm saying if I told him "I ain't no Republican." There's no right or wrong about it. People use it and they're not going to change simply because it's considered non-standard. Lucus, you mention a similar example of Vespasian, who was not raised in a patrician house in Rome but was from Spain, where spoken Latin probably had a flavor that even the best of us would have trouble recognizing.

In terms of Latin, we should simply be consistent. If I pick Cicero's writing to mimic, then I should stick to his style, grammar, etc., whenever I can. If, however, I wan't to mimic St. Thomas Aquinas or Ennius, I can do that as well while still be "correct" and "standard" (after all, can you say that they weren't?). As with English, consistency and understanding is the mark of successful communication. Otherwise, as there is no group of geographically isolated but similar people who still speak Latin to tell us otherwise, then the standards are our own to set.

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Postby adrianus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:00 am

cdm2003 wrote:"recognize" and "recognise"...Having no idea how these words are dealt with in England and elsewhere
The Oxford English Dictionary gives both forms as correct, cdm2003. Style guidelines will say use one or the other but be consistent.
Apud OED, cdm2003, utrum verbum bonum est. Requirunt libri, qui modos scribendi suadent, unam orthographiam diligere, tunc, dilecto, eâ constanter uti.
cdm2003 wrote:In terms of Latin, we should simply be consistent.
Good advice.
Bonum consilium.
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Postby adrianus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:14 am

Lucus wrote:Why Gaius Omniromanus, of course!
Well, I expected you to say Mestrius Florus, but nice. You suppose him to say "Since these rural people are saying 'scena', like they say 'letus' and 'orum', it's probably just another weird dialect thing on their part; surely it is 'scaena'."
Here's what I suppose.
Mestrius Florus: "Your Majesty, when you said "plodere" there you sounded like a peasant, or a rabble-rouser, or like someone buried in the writings of the ancients, pretentiously reintroducing ancient forms. You didn't sound like an educated modern Roman, who pronounces according to the schools, as our parents said it and their parents, or as all good writers, as Lucretius, Virgil, Pliny, Cicero and Petronius, say it."
Vespasian (who liked course jokes and may have used "plodere" on that occasion for effect): "Go plod yourself, Flaurus. Your ancestors were nothing more than a bunch of hypercorrectionist posers and you are, too."
Many of the most brilliant Roman (or Latin) writers were born outside Rome and their accents were often criticized by the snobbiest elevated Roman citizens. I think it significant that Suetonius, who recounts the incident between Mestrius and Vespasian, was born in an African province. Despite Vespasian, Mestrius's arguments (invented, of course) don't make him a hypercorrectionist, but his ancestors might have been, indeed.

Ecce quod suggero.
Mestrius Florus:
"Plodere", Emperor, in dicendo, rustico similis sonas, vel vulgi incitatore, vel simulatore qui ex operibus antiquis figuras redundantes fodit. Non loqueris ut Romanus benè eductus et modernus, nec quidem ut parentes tui nec illorum parentes, vel qui apud scholasticos enuntias, vel apud auctores meliores, ejusmodi Lucretium et Virgilium, et Plinium et Ciceronem et Petronium.
Vespasianus (qui jocis foedis fruebatur et fortasse "plodere" verbo usus est efficaciùs se exprimere): I te ipsum plode, Flaure. Atavos tuos aestimo turbam hypercorrigentes effoetosque esse, et te!
Nonnulli scriptores Romani (vel Latini) et maximi qui in provinciis extrà muros urbis Romae nati sunt et qui ob modum loquendi ab inflatissimis optimatibus saepè deridebantur. Ignorari non debet ut Suetonius (qui casum Flori Vespasianique narrat) in Africâ natus est. Jocus Vespasiani nihilominús, argumenta Mestrii (quod de more inventa sunt) eum hypercorrectorem esse non facit, sed forsitan quidem avatos eos ità fuisse.
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Postby cdm2003 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:27 am

adrianus wrote:Vespasian (who liked course jokes and may have used "plodere" on that occasion for effect): "Go plod yourself, Flaurus. Your ancestors were nothing more than a bunch of hypercorrectionist posers and you are, too."


The subtext of course being: "Flaurus...I believe we have a new opening in the galley slave department."

:shock:
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Postby adrianus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:29 am

:lol:
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Postby adrianus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:17 am

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