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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Originally posted by Purkis View Post
    The expression 'one-off' existed, as did the word 'instance'. Is it impossible that a literate diarist looking for a suitable phrase would combine the two?
    The short answer is yes because no-one would have understood what this meant and even in a diary one writes to be understood.

    I dispute that the expression 'one off' existed in 1888 to mean special or unique, which is how it is used in the diary, so, for that reason, I repeat that it is unhistorical and anachronistic for the expression 'one off instance' to have been used in the diary which is the proof that the diary is not genuine.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by paul g View Post
      So it now seems that there are known examples of the phrase being in existence prior to 1888 which leaves us with the handwriting not matching .
      Where do we find these "known examples" Paul?

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
        This is why I replied "Oh dear" to David's original ill-informed question. Once again, ssomeone else was expected to provide the 'research'. Personally, when he was sarcastically asking "Hello? Am I invisible?" I was halfway through Harrison II trying to find the section for him where she discusses these very examples. As it happens, I didn't find it (must have been in Harrison I only), but I sacrificed most of the second-half of Wigan vs Newcastle to answer his question, and his petulent response was not exactly motivating.

        It is a very common issue on this brilliant thread - people coming on with very little knowledge, pumped full of myths, and getting wound up when people who know the answers to their questions won't sacrifice their time to answer what they themselves could easily answer if they bothered to read anything about the case. And re-read where necessary.
        Wasn't "Oh dear", without any explanation, the petulant response here?

        I wasn't expecting someone else to provide any research because I have already done the research which shows that the expression 'one off instance' did not exist in the English language in 1888. It is linguistically and lexicographically impossible, therefore, for a diary author in 1888 to have written that expression.

        I already raised the issue of 'one off instance' much earlier in this thread on 28 August 2016 in fact (#1597) - so for you to have only been frantically searching through Harrison to find some evidence last night is not exactly motivating for me to contribute to this thread.

        In #1616 I actually quoted the entire paragraph from Harrison (2003) in which she deals with the issue.

        I also remind you (as perhaps you have forgotten) that when we discussed this in August I posted (#1629) that I did not think the diary had survived the issue of the "one off instance" to which you replied (#1630):

        "And as far as I am aware, you are right, it has not been resolved. If it cannot be resolved, it is indeed a massive problem for the journal."

        I replied "fair enough" and that's how our discussion concluded.

        So for you, last night, to respond "Oh dear..." to a point I had previously raised and which you agreed was a "massive problem" for the journal was rather disappointing.

        Comment


        • Harrison

          This is what Shirley Harrison said in 1993:

          "In the building industry, 'one off' in the sense of one only, was used when ordering materials (source: records of Trayner's of Kent, 1860). A 'one-off" was also an ornamental brick used in Victorian canals, and similarly, in engineering the term referred to a unique example or a prototype. This is precisely the sense Maybrick employed it in the diary."

          Let's look carefully at this paragraph. A source reference is given in the first sentence for 'one off' being used in the building industry in the sense of 'one only' when ordering materials. Is that what 'one off' means in the expression 'one off instance'? The answer is no (and I will develop this point in a separate post).

          For the moment, though, just focus on the second sentence. She says that 'one off' was also an ornamental brick (although what that has to do with the expression 'one off instance' I have no idea) and a unique example or prototype (which IS relevant and is the sense employed in the diary, as Harrison says). But she does not provide any source for either of these claims. It is just stated and left without any support whatsoever.

          She returned to the subject in 2003. Here is what she said then:

          "I telephoned Traynors, a long established building company in Kent who discovered the phrase lurking in their archives. In 1860, they said, it was used when a new building material was being ordered as a special. A one-off was also an ornamental brick used in Victorian Canals and referred to a unique example or prototype".

          It will be noted that in the first meaning provided, Shirley says that it was used when a new material was being ordered 'as a special'. This is not what she said in 1993 when it was used in the sense of 'one only'. How has she been able to improve upon the meaning over ten years to include the word 'special'?

          And again she has slipped into the second sentence two additional purported nineteenth century meanings of 'one off' without any source provided at all.

          Unless she is trying to say that all three meanings were provided to her by this single company in Kent.

          What was that company called? In 1993 it was Trayner's. In 2003 it was Traynors.

          I have looked in a number of building and construction directories from the 19th Century and can state with some confidence that there was no building company called Trayner's or Traynors (or similar) in Kent during that century. I have found no record of it in 1993 either (although further research could be done on that).

          Harrison's story does not make sense in any case on the face of it. One does not simply telephone a modern working building company at random to be told what is in their archives from the nineteenth century. Tracking down such a reference would have involved a certain amount of research work by someone but there is no mention of who did this or how long it took.

          Furthermore, as noted in the Ripper Diary: The Inside Story by Linder, Morris and Skinner, Harrison has never actually seen any document supporting the reference.

          This was her excuse in 2003:

          "As I did not have this in writing at the time, I tried to double-check the information for this edition but the firm was no longer in existence and I have been unable to trace their archives".

          But think about this. Harrison in 1993 has just managed to find the answer to a serious problem raised with the diary about the expression 'one off instance'. As she says in 2003:

          "Webster's gives its first written appearance as 1925. But it was in the building world that I found what I consider the real answer to my problem."

          So she's telephoned this building company who have told her, yes they have the answer to her prayers but rather than ask to see a copy of this very helpful document so she can check for herself she puts the phone down never to speak to them again and the company now no longer exist.

          This is not a satisfactory state of affairs to say the least but regardless of what she was or was not told by Trayner's or Traynors, nothing that Harrison claims to have found suggests that the expression 'one off instance', or similar, had ever used by a single living soul during or before 1888.

          Comment


          • Feldman

            I now want to discuss how Feldman deals with Harrison's information.

            He refers to it in critical passage of his book. I say "critical" because he has already accepted that any linguistic anomalies would prove the diary a fake. He acknowledges a claim by Dr Kate Flint, a lecturer in Victorian and modern literature, that 'one-off' is a modern expression. He is, therefore, desperate for an explanation of 'one off instance' in the diary. He gladly accepts the life jacket offered by Shirley and says:

            'Shirley Harrison, however, discovered the term in engineers' records belonging to Trayners of Kent and dated 1860 - twenty-four years before the Ripper murders and seventy-four years before it found its way into the Oxford Dictionary'.

            So Feldman thinks he has got out of jail but hold on, Shirley said that Trayners was "a building company". How have they suddenly become "engineers"? I suggest it's because Shirley has said that the phrase 'one off' was used in engineering to refer to a unique example and Feldman has decided that Trayners must have been engineers not builders.

            From Harrison's reference of "(source: records of Trayner's of Kent, 1860)." Feldman feels able to state that Harrison 'discovered' this expression in records 'dated' 1860 even though we now know that Harrison never saw any such records and clearly does not know whether they are dated or not.

            The fact is that there is no evidence that the 'records' supposedly found by Shirley Harrison even actually exist.

            Dr Flint has not, in other words, been undermined by this so-called discovery.

            Feldman's case, as he admits, would have been sunk without Harrison's 'find'. In the absence of any supporting documentation of Harrison's find, it is sunk now.

            It's my contention that 'one-off' did not bear the meaning of 'special' or 'unique' until the twentieth century, as Dr Flint and the OED tell us, that 'one off instance' is a modern expression, and this proves that the diary is a fake.

            Comment


            • Oh dear, it appears that Shirley Harrison has some serious questions to answer. In any event, it seems to me that information derived from a quick telephone call to a building company, which apparently cannot now be located, in no way represents sufficient supporting evidence!

              Thanks for the extensive research, David.

              Comment


              • one-off post

                The combination of words "one" and "off" is as old as the English language.

                For example: "He couldn't see any ships but there was one off the coast of Africa". Or "He put five coins on the table then took one off".

                So finding "one off", by itself, in 1888 is meaningless. For it to explain the phrase 'one off instance', there has to be a element of uniqueness or something special in the meaning.

                Although I have never seen documentary confirmation, I do not dispute that engineers in the nineteenth century would use the notations of "one off" "two off" "three off" "four off""fifty off" "100 off" etc. to refer to quantities of items involved in manufacturing. The best explanation I have found for this is that it means "one off the stocklist" or "two off the stocklist" etc. Essentially, therefore it means "one of an item" or "two of an item".

                So where a plan says "Widgets 3 off" it means 3 widgets required and where it says "Widgets 1 off" it means one widget required.

                Over time I have no doubt that "1 off", which was probably the most common use of the notation, came to take on a meaning of something more than a mere quantity, namely something unique or special so that a unique manufacturing project was referred to as "a one off job".

                The earliest written reference to a "one off job" that I have found is from 1912 (which is about 10 or 20 years earlier than the dictionaries state). However, I have found references to making a 'one off' in a manufacturing context from as early as 1903. All the early references come from engineering trade journals and they all relate to manufacturing, producing or casting 'one off' items and similar.

                From the concept of a "one off job" in manufacturing jargon, the concept of the "one off instance" (and similar) slowly crept into the English language and common usage of it. The earliest example of that exact expression that I have found in writing is, nevertheless, 1981 but let's allow for it being in use 40 years earlier than this. The fact is that, despite carrying out every possible search I could imagine, I haven't found any similar written usage prior to the Second World War.

                Prior to the Second World War, I have found "one off pattern" (1925) and "one off product" (1942). Then, after the war, "one off nature" (1953), "one off effort" (1960) and "one off event" (1963). The first examples of "one off occasion", "one off affair", "one off episode", "one off incident", "one off occurrence" and "one off appearance" that I have been able to locate have all been from the 1970s.

                If the author of the diary wrote the expression 'one off instance' in 1888 he would have been the first person ever known to have done so and, even if you deduct 40 years from the earliest I have found it, this would still mean it was never written again in the entire English speaking world for over 50 years. It's totally unrealistic.

                When someone in 1888 would have been writing a diary albeit writing in theory to themselves - they would (unless specifically writing in private code) have been using language that any reader would have understood. No-one in 1888 would have understood what 'one off instance' meant so that it is not something anyone would have written.

                For that reason, while it is not, of course, physically impossible that someone could have written the words 'one off instance' in 1888 there is nothing physically to stop someone having done it - it is what I would describe as linguistically or lexicographically impossible for them to have done so. I say this not based simply on my own research but on the authority of the Oxford English Dictionary, of Websters, of Dr Flint and indeed of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Modern Fable (second edition by John Ayto and Ian Crofton, 2006):

                One-off. An unusual or unique person, especially positively so. The expression dates from the 1930s and originally applied to a single manufactured object of some kind, often produced as a sample or specimen.

                The use of the expression 'one off instance' was a mistake made by the author of the diary not appreciating that this is a modern expression and it is the incontrovertible fact which proves that the diary was not written in 1888.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                  The combination of words "one" and "off" is as old as the English language.

                  For example: "He couldn't see any ships but there was one off the coast of Africa". Or "He put five coins on the table then took one off".

                  So finding "one off", by itself, in 1888 is meaningless. For it to explain the phrase 'one off instance', there has to be a element of uniqueness or something special in the meaning.

                  Although I have never seen documentary confirmation, I do not dispute that engineers in the nineteenth century would use the notations of "one off" "two off" "three off" "four off"…"fifty off" "100 off" etc. to refer to quantities of items involved in manufacturing. The best explanation I have found for this is that it means "one off the stocklist" or "two off the stocklist" etc. Essentially, therefore it means "one of an item" or "two of an item".

                  So where a plan says "Widgets – 3 off" it means 3 widgets required and where it says "Widgets – 1 off" it means one widget required.

                  Over time I have no doubt that "1 off", which was probably the most common use of the notation, came to take on a meaning of something more than a mere quantity, namely something unique or special so that a unique manufacturing project was referred to as "a one off job".

                  The earliest written reference to a "one off job" that I have found is from 1912 (which is about 10 or 20 years earlier than the dictionaries state). However, I have found references to making a 'one off' in a manufacturing context from as early as 1903. All the early references come from engineering trade journals and they all relate to manufacturing, producing or casting 'one off' items and similar.

                  From the concept of a "one off job" in manufacturing jargon, the concept of the "one off instance" (and similar) slowly crept into the English language and common usage of it. The earliest example of that exact expression that I have found in writing is, nevertheless, 1981 but let's allow for it being in use 40 years earlier than this. The fact is that, despite carrying out every possible search I could imagine, I haven't found any similar written usage prior to the Second World War.

                  Prior to the Second World War, I have found "one off pattern" (1925) and "one off product" (1942). Then, after the war, "one off nature" (1953), "one off effort" (1960) and "one off event" (1963). The first examples of "one off occasion", "one off affair", "one off episode", "one off incident", "one off occurrence" and "one off appearance" that I have been able to locate have all been from the 1970s.

                  If the author of the diary wrote the expression 'one off instance' in 1888 he would have been the first person ever known to have done so and, even if you deduct 40 years from the earliest I have found it, this would still mean it was never written again in the entire English speaking world for over 50 years. It's totally unrealistic.

                  When someone in 1888 would have been writing a diary – albeit writing in theory to themselves - they would (unless specifically writing in private code) have been using language that any reader would have understood. No-one in 1888 would have understood what 'one off instance' meant so that it is not something anyone would have written.

                  For that reason, while it is not, of course, physically impossible that someone could have written the words 'one off instance' in 1888 – there is nothing physically to stop someone having done it - it is what I would describe as linguistically or lexicographically impossible for them to have done so. I say this not based simply on my own research but on the authority of the Oxford English Dictionary, of Websters, of Dr Flint and indeed of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Modern Fable (second edition by John Ayto and Ian Crofton, 2006):

                  One-off. An unusual or unique person, especially positively so. The expression dates from the 1930s and originally applied to a single manufactured object of some kind, often produced as a sample or specimen.

                  The use of the expression 'one off instance' was a mistake made by the author of the diary not appreciating that this is a modern expression and it is the incontrovertible fact which proves that the diary was not written in 1888.
                  "One off chance" is in the newspapers from 1883.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                    The combination of words "one" and "off" is as old as the English language.

                    The use of the expression 'one off instance' was a mistake made by the author of the diary not appreciating that this is a modern expression and it is the incontrovertible fact which proves that the diary was not written in 1888.
                    I hate the fact that I wasted the second half of Wigan-Newcastle on you and you weren't even courteous enough to thank my clearly-misguided efforts. Nevertheless, you make your case well and it is clear to me that 'one off instance' is the significant problem for the journal that you say it is.

                    Parking that for now, if you are correct in asserting the journal a hoax, when do you therefore place it in time?
                    Iconoclast

                    Comment


                    • Quote

                      Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                      Where do we find these "known examples" Paul?
                      I was responding to the claims of the poster who stated that there were known examples.
                      I was expecting examples to follow.

                      As yet non forthcoming from any poster so stays in the box marked
                      Awaiting proof.
                      Cheers David.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Pierre View Post
                        "One off chance" is in the newspapers from 1883.
                        Some threads are better suited to native English speakers than others.

                        On the off-chance that Pierre ever posts anything sensible I will be sure to announce it.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                          I hate the fact that I wasted the second half of Wigan-Newcastle on you and you weren't even courteous enough to thank my clearly-misguided efforts. Nevertheless, you make your case well and it is clear to me that 'one off instance' is the significant problem for the journal that you say it is.

                          Parking that for now, if you are correct in asserting the journal a hoax, when do you therefore place it in time?
                          Frankly I would have thought you would want to thank me for giving you something more interesting to do than watch a Wigan game.

                          As for a place in time, I am influenced by the fact that Dr David Baxendale, an experienced document examiner, carried out a solubility test in July or August 1992 which revealed that the ink in the diary had been recently added to the paper.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by paul g View Post
                            I was responding to the claims of the poster who stated that there were known examples.
                            I was expecting examples to follow.

                            As yet non forthcoming from any poster so stays in the box marked
                            Awaiting proof.
                            Cheers David.
                            No worries Paul. I was just making a point.

                            Let's see if anyone is able to provide an example that you seek.

                            Comment


                            • http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-one4.htm

                              http://www.dictionary.com/browse/one-off

                              http://www.dailywritingtips.com/one-...ew-expression/



                              Phil
                              Last edited by Phil Carter; 12-15-2016, 02:26 PM.
                              Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                              Justice for the 96 = achieved
                              Accountability? ....

                              Comment


                              • http://www.jamesmaybrick.org/pdf%20files/Diary%20(Caz's%20article).pdf

                                Interesting article that offers some opinions and facts .

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