[Ads-l] "One final ask"

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 22 18:26:09 EST 2017

That almost certainly was not the output of an unsupervised program but of
a human captioner, or possibly a program's output reviewed by a human.
Unsupervised captioning can produce absolutely godawful output. Real-time
human captioners, as I understand it, rely on programs with a great many
abbreviations: short non-word strings that the program expands. I suspect
that the captioner was unfamiliar with this recent use of "ask" and heard
what they expected to hear and see in that context and with approximately
that sound: one syllable beginning with [æ] and ending with a voiceless
stop, with an articulation visually indistinguishable from that of "ask".

Mark Mandel, Senior Linguist, Dragon Systems, Inc. (RIP), 1990 – 2001

On Jan 18, 2017 9:56 PM, "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

I was watching a DVR of Obama’s farewell speech from last week.  Toward the
very end (53 minutes in), he is reminding the audience, live and on TV, to
continue to believe in not his ability to bring change but in ours, using
these words:

"But for now, whether you are young or young at heart, I do have one final
ask of you as your president, the same thing I asked when you took a chance
on me eight years ago."

I had closed captioning on, and the captions for this read as follows

"...I do have one final act of you…+

Makes no sense and isn’t particularly grammatical, but I guess the
closed-captioning program isn’t into nounifying.


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

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

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