Thursday, August 11, 2005
Linguistics at Arby’s
A new Arby’s ad makes a linguistic observation: “Did you ever notice how when people say ‘Do the math,’ there isn’t any math to be done?” (Or something like that.)
I can’t tell from a quick search of www.webcorp.org.uk how well that theory holds up, but I do think the phrase you do the math is often used rhetorically, to say either that the math is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be done, or that the calculation is just a formality that the speaker doesn’t need to complete in order to make her point.
Here’s some of what WebCorp finds (note that last one):
Wholes and Holes in Discourse Analysis
Texts have holes. Lots of them. In “Introduction to Discourse Studies,” Jan Renkema gives a list of five potential answers to the question: “Where’s my box of chocolates?” They are:
Where are the snows of yesteryear?
I was feeling hungry.
I’ve got a train to catch.
Where’s your diet sheet?
The children were in your room this morning.