Friday, June 10, 2011

Underthinking I suppose

Well many people maintain that the English language is not tonal, I beg to differ

"Please Sir may I differ."
For those of you unaware a tonal language is one where the meaning of word can be changed by where you place the inflection in it. The word that brought this to my attention is the word "suppose", having limited experience in this field I have turned to my good friend Dr. Alfred Maybe from the Meh institute, who is a leading academic in the field of supposology.

Dr. Alfred Maybe
 Now I am not talking about the suppose one uses we postulating an idea, generally hypothetical situation. i.e Suppose Sharks could fly.

Skydiving just got 50% more dangerous
The usuage I am talking about when the word suppose is used to start a sentence in conjunction with I, i.e I suppose..... By doing this one is of course indicating ones indifference or reluctance to concede a point in an argument.
Now Dr Alfred Maybe after years of research has traced the origins of this usage back to the famous Marie Antoinette quote, that most of you know as "Let them eat cake". For years there has been speculation that this alone could not have been the cause of peasants beheading her, Dr Alfred Maybe has discover that we have been leaving part of the phrase out.

"I suppose, let them eat cake"
 It was that little snippet at the start that really infuriated the serfs, as it indicated that Marie was very indifferent to give the serfs cake, despite as shown in the pictorial evidence she had a plethora of cake.
This is all well and good Azzy you say I am learning this interesting historical[1]
information but what does this have to do with your tonal theory?

That's a good question Chinese film star Jackie Chan[2]
Well Jackie, picture this common situation where the usage "I suppose..." arises.


The situation normally arises in a healthy debate, when one party will concede the point to the other, beginning the sentence with "I suppose...".

There are three ways that the suppose can be pronounced.
i/ SUP-pose : I am reluctant to agree with you, because I am wrong but don't want to admit it
i.e "I SUP-pose I should have been wearing a mouth guard" 

"Ahh Mum, I am not sure this is a good pet"

"I SUP-pose getting Timmy that pet bear was a bad idea."

ii/. sup-POSE: I am reluctant to agree with you, because there is no was what you are saying is correct, but I am too tired to continue arguing.

i.e. "I sup-POSE it is okay, you spent our mortgage payments on new shoes this month"

i.e. "I sup-POSE you haven't failed a drugs test Lance Armstrong, so you probably aren't a drugs cheat"

iii/. su-PO-se: I am really indifferent to what you are saying altogther.

i.e. "Yeah I su-PO-se we can go over there, Avril Lavigne with a cartoonishly long arm"
"I su-PO-se I am not the world's smartest man, but I was the president of the USA."

1. Historical accuracy not guaranteed. 
2. Jackie Chan may or may not read


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