Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
    As I've said before, I don't pretend the above is definitive, but as it's based on over 7 million scanned texts it should give at least an indication of the penetration of these phrases into the vernacular.
    Hi Gareth,

    What is the spread of those 7 million texts over the date range? I presume that they increase in number in the latter half of the century and therefore there needs to be some sort of normalisation which would change your "hockey-stick" style graph into something more linear.

    KR,
    Vic.
    Truth is female, since truth is beauty rather than handsomeness; this [...] would certainly explain the saying that a lie could run around the world before Truth has got its, correction, her boots on, since she would have to chose which pair - the idea that any woman in a position to choose would have just one pair of boots being beyond rational belief.
    Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Victor View Post
      What is the spread of those 7 million texts over the date range? I presume that they increase in number in the latter half of the century and therefore there needs to be some sort of normalisation which would change your "hockey-stick" style graph into something more linear.
      I fully agree, Vic - and I'm under no illusions on that score, you may rest assured. That said, it would take one heck of a normalisation to make a regression-line cut the X axis in the first half of the 20th Century. Even if it did, I'm pretty sure that all three expressions would not do so. I say this because the evidence (Google Books, newspaper searches and the OED concurring) points to "[non-violent] mayhem [chaos]" originating in the latter half of the C20th - with "spreading [non-violent] mayhem [chaos]" even more recent. The term "one-off [event]", as opposed to "one-off [item]", is also of comparatively recent vintage.

      "Top myself" is almost certainly older, in that "to top" (literally, to chop off someone's head) was certainly in use in the C19th, and I suppose it just might have been generalised to mean, at first, "killing", and - later - "suicide" earlier than shown in the graphs. Even there, it's worth noting that the OED gives 1958 as the earliest documented usage yet found - by Frank Norman, the petty criminal turned playwright, in his play Bang to Rights. "Topping oneself" might, therefore, have been 20th Century prison slang to begin with. Indeed, Jeffrey Bernard, in Frank Norman's obituary, wrote that Norman "[possessed] a razor sharp ear for dialogue, particularly as spoken in the underworld".

      In another place yesterday, I quipped that the Diary's usage of "the whore seen" (instead of "the whore saw") made Maybrick look like Jim Royle or Eddie Yeats. On the basis of the above, I might have to add Soapy Stevens and Norman Stanley Fletcher to the list

      As to "hockey-stick" shaped graphs, I've already noted that the advent of mass broadcast media in the latter half of the last Century resulted in an explosion in the amount of slang and neologisms entering the vernacular.
      Last edited by Sam Flynn; 07-09-2009, 09:07 PM.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
        it would take one heck of a normalisation to make a regression-line cut the X axis in the first half of the 20th Century.
        You need to do a 95% UCL regression using the bootstrap method. That would get rid of the hockey-stick, but it wouldn't make it linear. You need shtick, to wit.

        Comment


        • ...I was assuming non-linear. Hyperbolic, of course.
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

          Comment


          • Caz,

            Phrases show up and become common in spoken language years before they make it into written usage and often before they even make it into the dictionary. Everyone is using the word texting and tweeting in everyday conversation currently but it won't show up in common book usage for years to come.

            Sam's graph pretty much shows definitively that the diary was using language that was not in usage until late in the 20th century.

            Let all Oz be agreed;
            I'm Wicked through and through.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
              I fully agree, Vic - and I'm under no illusions on that score, you may rest assured. That said, it would take one heck of a normalisation to make a regression-line cut the X axis in the first half of the 20th Century.
              Hi Gareth,
              I expected that you would, so what happens if you do something simple, like divide the results by (number of texts in that year) to get a "%age of articles the phrase appears in" graph.

              Even if it did, I'm pretty sure that all three expressions would not do so.
              I tend to agree, but Ally's argument equally applies that the spoken phrase will pre-date the written by several years (decades?) but probably not by enough to get it back to the 19th century.

              KR,
              Vic
              Truth is female, since truth is beauty rather than handsomeness; this [...] would certainly explain the saying that a lie could run around the world before Truth has got its, correction, her boots on, since she would have to chose which pair - the idea that any woman in a position to choose would have just one pair of boots being beyond rational belief.
              Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Ally View Post
                Caz,

                Phrases show up and become common in spoken language years before they make it into written usage and often before they even make it into the dictionary. Everyone is using the word texting and tweeting in everyday conversation currently but it won't show up in common book usage for years to come.

                Sam's graph pretty much shows definitively that the diary was using language that was not in usage until late in the 20th century.
                Hi Ally,

                Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? Sam's graph takes no account of the spoken language being used 'years before' the earliest known written references show up in his inherently flawed use of Google-based data. And dictionaries are always being revised as earlier references to words or phrases turn up.

                It was Sam's argument originally that a late 19th century reference in print to 'mayhem' meaning 'chaos or disorder' (in addition to bodily mutilation) was not an indication that this meaning must already have been in common spoken usage by the late 19th century. I disputed this on exactly the grounds you describe above. Sam argued that no old hoax would feature such a 'cutting edge' late 19th century meaning of mayhem. Yet he relies on his modern hoaxer bunging in as 'second nature' what his graph implies is a 'cutting edge' late 20th century meaning of mayhem.

                I don't see anything remotely cutting edge about the word 'Mayhem' as it appears in the diary (except in the literal sense of cutting human flesh with a sharp knife), so I don't see how Sam can use it (or 'top myself' or 'one off' - individually or all three combined) to date the text definitively to the late 1980s or early 1990s.

                I hesitate to use the words 'Voller' or 'prior to 1970' or 'Battlecrease documentation' to curb Sam's admirable enthusiasm. But omitting them all from his own diary vocabulary as if they don't exist, or can have no possible bearing on the latest date that the text could reasonably have been conceived, makes no sound sense to me at all.

                Incidentally, it was demonstrated elsewhere that if you took the word 'the' you would get millions more hits from the late 20th century than the late 19th. All it would reflect is the growth in population and publishing since the LVP. It wouldn't mean that individuals were using 'the' any less frequently in their everyday spoken or written language a hundred years earlier.

                By the way, I made the point (elsewhere I think) that words made up today can appear in a phone text message tomorrow, effectively making the move from spoken to written language much, much faster these days than in decades gone by. My daughter used 'twatted' (or was it 'twat'?) in a text message, thinking she was the first to think up this amusing past participle for tweeting, but she very quickly found someone else who did the same.

                Love,

                Caz
                X
                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                Comment


                • This isn't a case of a word or phrase appearing more frequently due to the increased number of publications available now vs then. We're talking about a word that is used in a way that the earliest usage can be documented to the 1950s and a phrase that first makes a written appearance in the 1970s.

                  Both would be available to a modern forger and neither would be to James Maybrick or an old forger. Given that the way the words are used put the kibosh on the alleged first appearance of the book in the 50s... what is the reasonable conclusion here?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                    In another place yesterday, I quipped that the Diary's usage of "the whore seen" (instead of "the whore saw") made Maybrick look like Jim Royle or Eddie Yeats.
                    Hmmm. Your quips are usually more witty than that one, Sam, if I may be so bold. I demonstrated in that other place why this made the hoaxer's 'Sir Jim' no different from Scousers across the social divide, from Eddie Yeats right up to and including a deputy headmaster. It's part of the normal vernacular in Liverpool, so the joke's firmly on you for continuing to giggle like a schoolboy at this usage as if it were a sign of a Liverpudlian's ignorance. Why do you keep pretending you have made valid observations elsewhere, as though they have not been overturned there by real personal experience? It’s not cricket but in the long run it does you no favours.

                    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                    As to "hockey-stick" shaped graphs, I've already noted that the advent of mass broadcast media in the latter half of the last Century resulted in an explosion in the amount of slang and neologisms entering the vernacular.
                    But once again, this advent would have caused an explosion in the use of all slang expressions, including those that had always been in the vernacular, or had entered it decades or more previously, but had rarely ever been published anywhere prior to the late 20th century, when the expression ‘anything goes’ finally took off in a much bigger way linguistically than had even been experienced before. You seem to be assuming that the explosion would have consisted largely of newly coined slang, entering the vernacular just in time to coincide with the advent of mass broadcast media. Surely I’m only stating the bleedin’ obvious when I tell you it just ain’t so?

                    Sorry John, you'll have to refresh my memory here:

                    'We're talking about a word that is used in a way that the earliest usage can be documented to the 1950s and a phrase that first makes a written appearance in the 1970s.'

                    Who is talking about what word, and how has its intended use in the diary been arrived at and verified? Even if the context left no room for doubt, the earliest known written appearance of any word or phrase, to mean something very specific that it did not mean previously, will often be decades after it became part of the vernacular, as Ally and others have explained. In addition, earlier documented instances often turn up to show that a certain usage has been around longer than previously thought.

                    Love,

                    Caz
                    X
                    "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                    Comment


                    • The use of 'spreading mayhem' in 1888 is not impossible and therefore not an irrefutable argument. It reminds me of the argument that the Muck Midden could be called the Poste House in 1840 (when mail stopped being delivered by mail to taverns) and in 1894 when the Muck Midden officially became the New Post Office Hotel but not in 1888.

                      Here's another Twain quote from the San Francisco Daily Morning Call:

                      MAYHEM. - A house on Broadway, near the County Jail, was the scene of a desperate assault on Sunday afternoon. A lodger named John R. Pate came home and found a German named Wilhelm Greisky on too familiar terms with his (Pate's) mistress, who is the discarded wife of a soldier on service at Benicia. Pate battered Greisky's head almost to a pulp with a club, and inflicted dangerous wounds in his cheek and temple with a small, sharp instrument -- an ice pick, probably. He then confined the insensible victim's legs with a pail, and proceeded to inflict upon him a species of mayhem which it is not necessary to particularize;... After being locked up in the City Prison, he made such a noise by cursing and swearing that he had to be transferred to the dark cell. His case was continued for one week, in the Police Court yesterday; to await the result of the wounds inflicted on Grusky [sic].
                      Last edited by Jessica Pisces; 07-13-2009, 08:30 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Hello JP,
                        Originally posted by Jessica Pisces View Post
                        Here's another Twain quote from the San Francisco Daily Morning Call:

                        MAYHEM. - A house on Broadway, near the County Jail, was the scene of a desperate assault on Sunday afternoon. A lodger named John R. Pate came home and found a German named Wilhelm Greisky on too familiar terms with his (Pate's) mistress, who is the discarded wife of a soldier on service at Benicia. Pate battered Greisky's head almost to a pulp with a club, and inflicted dangerous wounds in his cheek and temple with a small, sharp instrument -- an ice pick, probably. He then confined the insensible victim's legs with a pail, and proceeded to inflict upon him a species of mayhem which it is not necessary to particularize
                        Again, that's "mayhem" in the violent sense. That sort of mayhem (because it's violent) is very specific, physical and location-bound, not the sort of thing one personally "spreads throughout the land".

                        The Diary is clearly referring - and I'll take no gainsaying on this - to "mayhem" in the more abstract sense of "non-violent panic and confusion", a meaning which did not enter into popular usage until comparatively recently. Add this to the two other phrases mentioned above, which also come into the same category, and there's really only one rational conclusion - viz., that the Diary was almost certainly written in the latter third of the 20th Century. It was only then that the phrases in question had penetrated the vernacular to the extent that using all three in the same short piece of text really became possible.

                        Not that you'll find these phrases together anywhere else but in the Maybrick Diary and books relating to it - which surely has some significance in itself.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Victor View Post
                          I tend to agree, but Ally's argument equally applies that the spoken phrase will pre-date the written by several years (decades?) but probably not by enough to get it back to the 19th century.
                          Absolutely. In fact, if the mechanism by which the modern (non-violent confusion) definition of "mayhem" came about was indeed the popular misinterpretation of 1950s sporting reportage, as seems to be the case, then we have a finite period of time, earlier than which the Diary simply could not have been written. When we combine that with the commonplace usage of "one-off (incident)" and "top myself", the net effect seems to pull that cut-off point to a period much later in the last century than the 1950s.

                          Furthermore, the distinctly lower-class - possibly even underworld - origin of the expression "top myself" might also give a good indicator as to the social class of those responsible for writing the Diary; especially in combination with the use of "seen" for "saw" and "lay" instead of "lie", and the failed attempts at "posh-speak" or "talking proper" that litter the text ("did so"; the use of "I" instead of "me"; the misspellings of high-falutin' words like "rendezvous", etc.).

                          If all this, taken together, doesn't point to a working-class, indifferently educated person(s) of the late 20th Century being the Diary's author(s), I really don't know what does.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                          Comment


                          • Here's an example from the early Depression Era of the use of mayhem as chaos. I Google Newsed 'general mayhem'.
                            Americans Hide Hurt Feelings In Stuffed Shirts

                            Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963) - Chicago, Ill.
                            Author: EDMOND TAYLOR
                            Date: Jun 13, 1933
                            pqarchiver.com

                            The social life of the world economic conference got under way tonight when delegates of the 66 countries represented, after a day spent in contemplating bilateral and general mayhem,....
                            The word mayhem is not one that can be appropriated in the sense of chaos and used any time like maiming. It has to wait for the appropriate time for usage like the 30s and the 60s when there was general mayhem in the United States.
                            Last edited by Jessica Pisces; 07-14-2009, 02:40 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Excellent find, Jessica. Now all we need is to find this meaning and the other phrases in widespread use and perhaps we might start to nudge the cut-off point on the graph a little further to the left, in respect of 20th Century Illinois at any rate.

                              It would be good to see the entire article in case this was an OCR error - not that I believe that it is. I registered with the Chicago Tribune so that I could purchase access to the full scanned page, but their payment provider (not one I use) bounces my credit card.
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                              Comment


                              • Here is an Edgar Rice Burrough's quote listed in the freedictionary under mayhem:

                                Philander, in icy tones, "the time has arrived when patience becomes a crime and mayhem appears garbed in the mantle of virtue.
                                Tarzan of the Apes by Burroughs, Edgar Rice 1912
                                http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mayhem

                                You can read it in context with this link. I think you will agree that the context here for mayhem is the two men's lack of decorum in running away from a lion. With no attempt to maim.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X