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ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

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ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Sep - 10:43

EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com

By Dr Martin Roberts
19 September 2013


ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

To the ear of a non-speaker the romance languages can appear almost song-like. That mongrel tongue known as English on the other hand exhibits an altogether different peculiarity. Having discarded the demands of gender, adjectival agreement, and the rest of that latinate bag of tricks which virtually guarantee an accurate understanding of the written word, English strips down to the bare essentials, risking all on the logical determinacy of its semantics and associated capacity to overcome ambiguity. In simple terms, 'what you say is what you get'.

So what do we gather from what the McCanns have said?

Madeleine McCann is dead

Kate McCann has said so (to Sara Antunes de Oliveira, SIC, 9 March, 2010):

"We're not going to sit here and lie and be totally naïve and say she's one hundred per cent alive."

Less than 100% alive equals dead. A lie is a deliberate contradiction of a known truth, not a speculation.

On the strength of the available evidence Gerry McCann also believes this to be the case (to Nicky Campbell, Radio Five Live Breakfast, 1 May, 2008):

"We have contact with the Foreign Office, errm... from predominantly a consular basis. We do put requests in, that we do want to get as much information as possible and, I think, what we've asked, and will ask repeatedly, is: 'What evidence does anyone have to suggest that Madeleine is dead?' Because we know of no evidence to suggest otherwise and we would like a public acknowledgement of that."

It wasn't an accident

During a 'Seven on Sunday' broadcast in Australia, two years ago now, Gerry McCann was asked: "Did you kill your daughter?" To which he replied: "No. That's an emphatic 'no.'"

English offers a speaker various ways to emphasise a statement: Tone of voice, qualifiers, repetition – they each have their place, depending upon the context in which they are deployed. This answer of Gerry McCann's, so simple on the face of it, is disproportionately subtle in significance.

If the answer to a question is genuinely 'no' then, if the speaker considers it appropriate to reinforce the negation, all they have to do is to say 'no' emphatically. Describing the word subsequently, as being emphatic or anything else, does not accomplish that objective (assuming of course that was the objective).

Hence Gerry McCann's 'emphatic denial' that he killed his daughter (the question having been put to him rather than his wife) is, in actuality, not emphatic at all, just a monosyllabic rebuff.

Later, in concluding his over-elaborate answer he makes the following remark:

"An' if she died when we were in the apartment or fell injured, why would we... why would we cover that up?"

If we invert this observation and view it as a statement, rather than a question, Gerry McCann is implying that they would not have covered up either an injury to their daughter or Madeleine's death in their presence. There is no contingency expressed which would cover her death in their absence. Should it transpire that Madeleine McCann was not abducted however, covering up a death is exactly what the McCanns will have done. And if covering up a death due to accidental injury is deemed to have been unnecessary, then the fact of a cover up would signify that the death was not accidental.

Another of Gerry McCann's sound bites, from elsewhere in the broadcast media universe, speaks more pointedly to the same issue:

"There's been an evil crime committed here, a heinous crime...it's just so important to concentrate on that. We've got to live with ourselves for that misjudgement, but really the focus should be on that person who is out there."

Several contiguous statements refer to 'an evil crime', 'a heinous crime', 'misjudgement' and 'that person out there.' In order to focus more clearly on the real meaning of this utterance we can profitably jettison the closing remark, which results in the following:

"There's been an evil crime committed here, a heinous crime...it's just so important to concentrate on that. We've got to live with ourselves for that misjudgement."

Suddenly we begin to see the true nature of the confession. Taking concentration on 'that', i.e., the evil, heinous crime as a given, we may reduce the statement further, making it clearer still:

"There's been an evil crime committed here, a heinous crime. We've got to live with ourselves for that misjudgement."

Readers of Ripley's 'Believe It Or Not' may already have discovered for themselves how it is possible to construct a sentence which includes seven consecutive instances of the word 'that'. Here we began with three (that crime, that misjudgement, that person) and have since reduced the number to one (a demonstrative adjective), the referent for which is the same as for the intervening pronoun. In simple terms what 'that misjudgement' and 'that' as an object upon which to concentrate each have in common is their relationship to the aforementioned 'evil, heinous crime'. In a nutshell the McCanns have to live with themselves for a misjudgement, which happens to have been a crime, and not just any old crime either, but an evil, heinous one.

Would one normally view leaving a child indoors unattended as an evil or heinous act?

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Sep - 10:53



I think Dr. Martin is either a Phsycologist or similar for the way he dissects speech., maybe a Detective?

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Sep - 11:25

Panda wrote:

I think Dr. Martin is either a Phsycologist or similar for the way he dissects speech., maybe a Detective?
At least one of the expressions he has used reminds me of The Author on the old 3As

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  almostgothic on Thu 19 Sep - 11:35

Psychology is no doubt part of his frame of reference.
I'd place him in the linguistics/semantics department of a humanities faculty.

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Sep - 11:40

AnnaEsse wrote:
Panda wrote:

I think Dr. Martin is either a Phsycologist or similar for the way he dissects speech., maybe a Detective?
At least one of the expressions he has used reminds me of The Author on the old 3As
I wasn't a Member of 3a's for long before it closed down, I don't remember The Author.......did you find out anything about him at the time??? It looks like Dr. Martin is increasing his excellent theories so maybe like us he is relishing the outcome. 

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Sep - 11:43

almostgothic wrote:Psychology is no doubt part of his frame of reference.
I'd place him in the linguistics/semantics department of a humanities faculty.
The reason I thought Detective is because of the abnormal interest he has shown in this case, so maybe he is combining all of these attributes. 

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  almostgothic on Thu 19 Sep - 11:50

His knowledge and use of forensic linguistics is top notch.
He's an academic, IMO.

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Sep - 12:04

almostgothic wrote:His knowledge and use of forensic linguistics is top notch.
He's an academic, IMO.
I agree. He's got to be an academic. PhD rather than medical.

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Sep - 12:09

almostgothic wrote:His knowledge and use of forensic linguistics is top notch.
He's an academic, IMO.
Maybe a Sherlock Holmes type Detective? He quotes from various reports more than 2 years old which makes me think he has a veritable Library of everything related to this case, which the Detective in him would find.

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Wintabells on Thu 19 Sep - 23:11

Perhaps a forensic linguist.

Whatever his profession, he's tenacious.

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

Post  Panda on Fri 20 Sep - 0:06

Wintabells wrote:Perhaps a forensic linguist.

Whatever his profession, he's tenacious.
Hi Wintabells, he is also very articulate and I would like to think when this case is over he will introduce himself on mccannfiles. 

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Re: ON THE USE OF ENGLISH

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