Friday, April 24, 2015

Analysis of Clive Cussler sentence

Continuing this discussion of the sentence:

He came within an eye blink of [falling asleep] under the soothing splash of the warm water.

I am afraid I need a "-" sign to indicate hedging and exclusion. So the ',' connector of sub narratives can take the form of '+' or of '-'. I continue to think hedging and negation are not true "proto" semantic concepts. But so many sentences in English use them that there is more value to allowing it in the discussion. I introduce it reluctantly. Anyway, the Cussler sentence takes a form something like this:
- (X::X_/sleep)+ ((SPLASH->[X])::([X]_/sooth)) + [X_/sooth::X_/sleep]
Or you might write it using an asterisk '*':
(X::X_/sleep)*, ((SPLASH->[X])::([X]_/sooth)) , [X_/sooth::X_/sleep]
The last term is an implicit, on-the-fly truism or factoid.

Next step is to understand the algebra which leaves us at the end of a sentence knowing a story took place where the character was splashed and soothed and, now, is not asleep. The splashed/soothed part of the story is over and the lack of sleep remains.

Frankly I am on the fence about formalizing "diagramming" as a set of operations on proto semantic narrative fragments. The diagramming would include substitutions ({A , B}), hedging (*), and a form of syllogism along the lines that A::B, B::C  produces A::C because the 'B' is fully absorbed by the end of the narrative fragment. This diagramming is explained as a "meta" operation that is embedded back into common usage. Meaning the diagramming operations mirror true semantic operations that are not "meta" in the end because they are used in actual communication. Thus we might regard diagramming as the manipulation of narrative,  whether functional within a communication or "meta" within an analysis. 
Update: when I say the "splashed/soothed part of the story is over and the lack of sleep remains", a fairer description is that: the lack of sleep remains but with an attribute "has causal explanation".

1 comment:

  1. The sentence is from a few pages into chapter 10 of "Shock Wave".