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Of thought and metaphor - Peter Calamai 
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Post Of thought and metaphor - Peter Calamai
Of thought and metaphor

Deciphering the layered ways in which we communicate is his mission

Jan 21, 2007 04:30 AM
Peter Calamai
Science writer


An excerpt from this review:

Quote:
Even something as seemingly straightforward as asking for the salt involves thinking and communicating at two levels, which is why we utter such convoluted requests as, "If you think you could pass the salt, that would be great."

Says Pinker: "It's become so common that we don't even notice that it is a philosophical rumination rather than a direct imperative. It's a bit of a social dilemma. On the one hand, you do want the salt. On the other hand, you don't want to boss people around lightly.


Read the full review at TheStar.com


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Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:58 am
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At the risk of looking like some kinda' uneducated peasant here, I feel compelled to ask:

What's wrong with saying 'Pass the salt, please'.

:lol:



Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:22 pm
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Carly, in theory "pass the salt, please" should be enough, but I expect it varies according to countries and social groups.
Here at would find it enough for within family use, though eve nn here I'd also use "Can you...".

Having a meal with colleagues, even on an every day setting like the cantine where talks are extremely informal, "Can you pass the salt, please" would ne a must, and if it meant interrupting a conversation, would be preceded by "Excuse me...", so quite a long sentence for such a simple act, but I think Pinker's explanations are quite right.


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Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:51 am
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Carly, in theory "pass the salt, please" should be enough, but I expect it varies according to countries and social groups.
Here at would find it enough for within family use, though eve nn here I'd also use "Can you...".

Having a meal with colleagues, even on an every day setting like the cantine where talks are extremely informal, "Can you pass the salt, please" would ne a must, and if it meant interrupting a conversation, would be preceded by "Excuse me...", so quite a long sentence for such a simple act, but I think Pinker's explanations are quite right.


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