Hebrew Syntax.

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sun Apr 14 20:16:22 EDT 2002

> Moon, may I answer you here as one also trained originally in science
> and who then worked as an engineer. In most branches of science, if a
> hypothesis has a 96% or 97% fit with the observed facts (as here), the
> general truth of that hypothesis is considered rather strongly
> indicated. Of course one then needs to look at the remaining results.
> They may be spurious or corrupted (cf. here the text may be corrupt);
> but one would need to look into whether that is reasonable. Or one might
> find that this small residue of results can be accounted for by making
> adjustments to the hypothesis. Sometimes it might be necessary to leave
> the hypothesis as incomplete and uncertain because a residue of results
> has not been accounted for. But I am sure no scientist would reject a
> hypothesis completely because of a 3-4% discrepancy.
> Peter Kirk

This should be especially true in language, where "rules" are 
constantly bent, broken and altered by social convention.  It may be 
"improper grammar" to construct a clause like "So I says to him, I 
says..." but Americans do it all the time.  Language, as a science, is 
hardly in the same class with, say, physics, where the same action 
predictably produces the same results (throw the ball up, it comes 
down again).  One moment a person might say "He called me a so-
and-so, so I went across the street to punch him in the nose" and 
the next time the story is related he might say "He calls me a so-
and-so and I go across the street to punch him in the schnozz."  
Because of the mystery factor of the human mind, language always 
has a certain element of unpredictability.  In my own work I call this 
unpredictability "social convention" and IMO it usually accounts for 
that 3-4% discrepancy.
Dave Washburn
This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do 
with it.

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