Date: Wed, 8 Nov 1995 12:52:44 EST


Subject: Re: No 'friend of yours'

On Nov 8, Dennis Preston wrote:

... proscribed language phenomenon, but every beginning linguistics student

(and certainly every information science student in general) knows that

built-in redundancy in a variety of systems is ordinary (and apprently [sic]

crucial). Where the folk and the scientists 'disagree' ought to strike us

as ground worthy of deepeer ethnographic i

Information theorists to a person will tell you that natural language has

approx. a 50% built-in redundancy. I used to an experiment with my students

before I escaped from higher academics (no disrepect intended) wherein I would

turn a radio on to a news broadcast and keep it on for 3 sec. and then shut it

off for 3 sec, on for 3 sec and off for 3 sec and so on. Everyone was able to

fill in the blanks of the entire nes bulletin. So the phrase "friends of mine"

simply has built in redundancy. Therefore, Seth, I would not expunge that

phrase from my normal vocabulary. I happen to agree with Dennis, it might be a

cliche but redundancy serves a valuable purpose expecially when the signal con-

tains severe channel noice such as at a noisy party or when a plane passes over-




Dr. Anthony J. Vitale

Senior Consultant

Linguistics & Speech Technology

Digital Equipment Corporation