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Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 18 04:43:03 UTC 2011

> At 4:30 PM -0500 1/17/11, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>>  >From the most well-known sage of the previous century:
>>Luke: All right, I'll give it a try.
>>Yoda: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.
>>The contrast with "try" indicates that this "do" refers to effective
>>action. Or as Jon requests "the sense is something like 'to carry out
>>one's intentions with effect; take effective action'"
>>This is natural contemporary, speech on the swamp planet Dagobah.
> Natural, yes.  But contemporary?  If it's *future* speech, it doesn't
> necessarily represent the *present* state of the the language!

Excellent point. The futuristic hardware naturally leads one to think
that the setting is in the future, but the words "A long time ago in a
galaxy far, far away...." appear in a roll on the screen at the
beginning of each Star Wars film. Yet, this is misleading because the
notion of contemporaneous events is complicated within general
relativity theory. The concept of simultaneity is not absolute but
depends on the observer's reference frame.

George Lucas was observing and transcribing events of the trilogy in
the 1970s and early 1980s perhaps via a wormhole. This communication
linkage reveals a form of simultaneity. Hence Yoda's words are
contemporaneous with the relativistic pop culture time frame of the
1970s and 1980s. Alternatively, Lucas just made it up, and that puts
the words in the 1970s and 1980s too.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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