[Ads-l] "If a tree falls..."

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 23 09:13:08 EDT 2020


Even in modern times there is disagreement about whether it is
possible to have lighting without thunder. An article on the
LiveScience website says: "No, it is not possible to have lightning
without thunder, according to NOAA." Yet, an article on the Library of
Congress website says: "Lightning does not always create thunder."

This disagreement, in my opinion, reflects different implicit
definitions of thunder. These different definitions are based on
divergent pre-suppositions. This topic is related to the cooperative
principle in linguistics. Listeners and speakers are attempting to act
cooperatively. So the question "Did any human hear a sound in
conjunction with the lightning" is relevant.

Website: LiveScience
Article: Is It Possible to Have Lightning Without Thunder?
Author: Karen Rowan - Health Editor
Date: July 15, 2010
https://www.livescience.com/32706--is-it-possible-to-have-lightning-without-thunder.html

[Begin excerpt]
No, it is not possible to have lightning without thunder, according to NOAA.

Thunder is a direct result of lightning. If you see lightning but
don't hear thunder, it is because the thunder is too far away.
Sometimes, people refer to this as heat lightning because it most
often occurs in the summer , but it is no different from regular
lighting.
[End excerpt]

Website: Library of Congress
Article: Question: What causes the sound of thunder?
Date: Not listed
https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/what-causes-the-sound-of-thunder/

[Begin excerpt]
Lightning does not always create thunder. In April 1885, five
lightning bolts struck the Washington Monument during a thunderstorm,
yet no thunder was heard.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 5:41 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Great finds.
>
> Was "philosopher" still likely to cover "scientist" in 1849?
>
> JL
>
> On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 4:41 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Here is a thematic match in the same time period. This 1849 citation
> > implicitly considers the question of whether a thunderclap
> > accompanying a lightning bolt exists even if "no one hears it". The
> > piece suggests that "philosophers" suppose that the thunderclap does
> > exist.
> >
> > [ref] 1849 May 14, Newark Daily Advertiser, Section: Correspondence of
> > the Newark Daily Advertiser, Title: New York Anniversaries, Date: May
> > 12, 1849, Quote Page 2, Column 1, Newark, New Jersey. (GenealogyBank)
> > [/ref]
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > On the contrary, I observed one speaker—a celebrated traveller in the
> > Orient, who from his warm gesticulation, and other infallible
> > symptoms, was evidently overflowing with intelligence, and on fire
> > with his subject, yet from feebleness of the vocal organ was little
> > better than a lump of latent heat; or, perhaps, a specimen of that
> > summer evening lightning which is supposed by philosophers to be in
> > fact accompanied by a report, though no one hears it.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 4:08 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > The tantalizing 1853 item discovered by JL shows up a bit earlier here:
> > >
> > > Eastern State Journal, White Plains, NY, May 6, 1853, p. 1, col. 4
> > >
> > https://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal%201852-1855/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal%201852-1855%20-%200167.pdf
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 3:59 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Jonathan Lighter  wrote:
> > > > > A little earlier:
> > > > >
> > > > > 1853  _Green Mountain Freeman_  (Montpelier, Vt.) (June 23) 4:  "If a
> > > > tree
> > > > > falls, and no one hears it, does it make a noise?" The above
> > question was
> > > > > announced in the _Rondout Courier_,  for discussion, last evening,
> > in the
> > > > > debating wing of the Lyceum of that village.  Three disputants were
> > named
> > > > > on each side.
> > > > >
> > > > > Credited to the _Poughkeepsie American_.
> > > > >
> > > > > That's entertainment!
> > > >
> > > > Excellent finds, JL.
> > > >
> > > > Way back in 2005 (before I was a member of this list), Fred Shapiro
> > > > posted an inquiry on this topic.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049340.html
> > > >
> > > > Stephen Goranson mentioned the pertinence of Bishop Berkeley's "A
> > > > Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" (1710) which
> > > > did discuss the imagination, perception, and the existence of a trees.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049341.html
> > > >
> > > > Benjamin Zimmer noted that Berkeley "didn't say anything about the
> > > > sound of falling trees". Ben listed some citations beginning with June
> > > > 1883.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049346.html
> > > >
> > > > The Yale Book of Quotation has an entry which refers to the philosophy
> > > > of George Berkeley and presents the June 1883 citation and later
> > > > citations.
> > > >
> > > > Wikipedia has an entry which refers to Berkeley's 1710 treatise and
> > > > lists the June 1883 citation together with later citations.
> > > > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest
> > > >
> > w.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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