No-no, the meaning of words...as in the signifier and the signified :-)
Thread poster: Jean-Luc Dumont

Jean-Luc Dumont  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:55
English to French
+ ...
Dec 2, 2003

Rumsfeld, [...], was awarded the "Foot in Mouth" award for a confusing message which probably left his audience in the dark as to its meaning, Britain's Plain English Campaign said.

"Reports that say something hasn't happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there things we know we know," Rumsfeld told the briefing.

"We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

-Donald Rumsfeld or is that Dunno


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
Gobbledygook Dec 2, 2003

It was on the news bulletin of the BBC yesterday and my daughter who is 10 said:
What did that man say?

I couldn't repeat it!

The BBC said Mr Rumsfeld had been given the first price for 'gobbledygook'.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 22:55
French to English
+ ...
I must be Rumsfeld 2 Dec 2, 2003

because I find what he's saying perfectly clear. What does that say about me (or him)?!!!
JOKE


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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:55
Italian to English
+ ...
Say whaaa?!?!? Dec 2, 2003

An attempt at Rumsfeldian>Engligh:

"Reports that say something hasn't happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there things we know we know,"

Translation: "Reports that say we didn't bomb a town are interesting to me, because I know we did,"

"We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

Translation:"Now I am nervous because someone might deduce what I'm actually trying not to say, so I'm going to confuse everyone with some double negatives and hope they get lost in the translation."


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
English to Tamil
+ ...
I seem to understand Dec 2, 2003

[quote]Katherine Zei wrote:
"We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

It is like telling a lie knowing that it is a lie and the intention is to deceive the interlocutor. It is to be condemend. But suppose the person is telling a lie believing that it is the truth. This is more dangerous as the person is deceiving himself as well and this cannot be identified even by the lie detector test. Similarly, if a person is aware that he doesn't know a subject and yet has to say something about it, he will be very cautious about what he says and will qualify his statements with all the precautionary utterances to mitigate the effect of his possibly wrong statement. Like the lowest confidence level in the Kudoz answers. But if the person is not aware of a subject in all its nuances and does not know that he does not know, he will lead with his chin and possibly get it busted. Like giving the maximum confidence rating for a wrong Kudoz answer.
Regards,
N.Raghvan


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Remember...? Dec 2, 2003

Think back to your childhood days.
Remember this game?
"If I know that you know that I know that you know X, then you know that I know that you know that I know Y."
Except, uhm, we were, like, aah, ya know, in the first grade.


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 22:55
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
And the winner is...... Dec 2, 2003

........

Gere won the 2002 award after telling a Sunday newspaper: "I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and somebody said I was a snake, I'd think 'No, actually I am a giraffe.

Wouldn't we all??


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Said Kaljanac a.k.a. SARAJ  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:55
Bosnian to French
+ ...
A thin line between knowledge and ignorance Dec 2, 2003

In any case... When I knew nothing, I thought that I knew everything, but only then when I knew a bit more, I realized that I didn't know as much as I thought I knew! And more I learned, more I thought I knew and realized that actually I didn't know much before I learned it. Finally, I reached a point where I could say that I learned so much, in fact, enough to realize that actually I knew nothing at all and it is still the case and will be so till my death. Nonetheless, that's the one and only thing I know, and at least I can guarantee that I know it for sure!



Said


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giogi
Local time: 21:55
the problem is... Dec 2, 2003

JLDSF wrote:



" But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."




If we don't know we don't know....why being worried about it?
Maybe tomorrow I'll be the emperor of China....but I don't know yet...So I don't care at all!!!!!


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Jason Roberts  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
Putting one's foot in one's mouth Dec 2, 2003

What I find most interesting here is that I would not say that this is a case of "foot in mouth". Sure, the Rummy quote might be hard to parse for people who don't speak (American?) English, (I for one understood it just fine when he said it) but "foot in mouth" != "hard to parse". For me "putting your foot in your mouth" occurs when you say something impulsively, brashly, or offensively, usually without meaning to. For example, asking a woman when she is going to give birth when she isn't pregnant but just over-weight is a case of "putting one's foot in one's mouth". In fact, the Plain English people sort of put a foot in their mouth by giving an award so named where it really wasn't applicable!

-JR


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
English to Tamil
+ ...
This reminds me of one anecdote Dec 6, 2003

This poor fellow was placed between two beautiful women while attending a dinner. From the dinner he emerged with two black eyes. It seems, he asked the lady to his left, whether she had children. On receiving the question in the affirmative, the next question he asked was: "Are you married?" This accounted for the first black eye. He then asked the lady to his right as to whether she was married. Getting an answer in the negative, he asked, whether she had children. The second black eye was the result.
Foot in mouth means this and not what Rumsford said. As I already said, I could understand him perfectly.
Regards,
N.Raghavan
Jason Roberts wrote:

What I find most interesting here is that I would not say that this is a case of "foot in mouth". Sure, the Rummy quote might be hard to parse for people who don't speak (American?) English, (I for one understood it just fine when he said it) but "foot in mouth" != "hard to parse". For me "putting your foot in your mouth" occurs when you say something impulsively, brashly, or offensively, usually without meaning to. For example, asking a woman when she is going to give birth when she isn't pregnant but just over-weight is a case of "putting one's foot in one's mouth". In fact, the Plain English people sort of put a foot in their mouth by giving an award so named where it really wasn't applicable!

-JR



[Edited at 2003-12-06 13:57]

[Edited at 2003-12-08 08:04]


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Jean-Luc Dumont  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:55
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Apothegm Dec 11, 2003

Jason Roberts wrote:

Sure, the Rummy quote might be hard to parse for people who don't speak (American?) English, (I for one understood it just fine when he said it) but "foot in mouth" != "hard to parse".


Scuse me? No need to be a native speaker here... The place, meaning and use of words makes it clear or not, witty or not...
when you are who he is and you want to be witty and you come up with something that does not make sense - in your context (do I need to mention the context?) - or implies that you may not, did not or cannot know much after all, I think you have put your foot in your mouth...

I am going to show you why "foot in the mouth" is appropriate. The Rummy quote as you say is a misinterpretation or a misquote of an Arabic apothegm (of all sources) (some say a Persian proverb* - see below) :

"He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child. Teach him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Follow him."

This is clear and makes sense...for an apophthegm is a "terse, witty, and instructive saying, a maxim". It comes from the Greek apophthegma, apophthengesthai, to speak plainly and apo-, an intensive.

Now compare to what won "the foot in mouth award"... Should we follow that...?

I would even say this may be a case of foot and mouth syndrome compounded by an abuse of beating around the... bushisms... to drive journalists crazy and elude their questions...

Nasreddin Hodja, beloved hero of Turkish folktales, completes the apothegm with his own wisdom that has the merit to be right:

"- But you know how difficult it is, my son, to be sure that the one who knows and knows that he knows really knows. "


But I thought the reason why "we" went there was because "we" knew it all....

JL

* "Ca ne s'invente pas" as we say in French or (loose translation) too good to be invented: This apothegm is quoted as a Persian saying in a site that bears the title "Military Quotations (Intelligence)" and the subtitle "selected recommended reading for military and intelligence areas"



[Edited at 2003-12-11 20:34]

[Edited at 2003-12-11 22:41]


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adamk
Local time: 16:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ca ne s'invente pas Jan 22, 2004


* "Ca ne s'invente pas" as we say in French or (loose translation) too good to be invented


I think the English (at least US) equivalent would be "you can't make this stuff up!"


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Robert M Maier
Local time: 22:55
English to German
+ ...
now for the 2004 Foot in Mouth Award.... Dec 8, 2004

...the 2004 Foot in Mouth Award goes to Boris Johnson MP for the baffling statement that


"I could not fail to disagree with you less."


(there is still a bit of discussion around me whether this means that he ultimately tended to agree, or to disaree...)



http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/footinmouth.html


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