[Ads-l] ADS-L Digest - 22 Sep 2023 to 23 Sep 2023 (#2023-228)

James Landau 00000c13e57d49b8-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Mon Sep 25 01:21:09 UTC 2023

I once saw a. VariationTime flies like an arrowFruit flies like a banana Chuck Yeager flies, like, airplanes
I do nobt remember where I saw this or when. It probably was after Yeager:s memoir was published
Jim Landa


Date:    Sat, 23 Sep 2023 19:24:07 -0400
From:    ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Quote: Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Request help accessing Harvard Alumni Bulletin in 1963

Way back in 2010 there was a discussion on this list about the
expression in the subject line. Also, in 2010 I created an article on
this topic. Now, I plan to revise the article. The line has been
attributed to Groucho Marx, but he probably did not say it.


Your help is requested to access a volume of the "Harvard Alumni
Bulletin" and to verify a pertinent Google snippet match. The goal is
to obtain a complete and accurate citation. Here is the incomplete
unverified data:

Year: 1963
Periodical: Harvard Alumni Bulletin
Quote Page 205


[Begin excerpt]
These possibilities do not make
much sense to a human; but they are
syntactically correct, and the com-
puter blindly produces all of these
simply because it has not been taught,
for example, that there is no such
species of fly as "time flies." The
computer could be "trained," of
course, not to parse such a sentence
the way it did. But then the machine
could not correctly handle a sentence
like "Fruit flies like bananas."
[End excerpt]

Here is a list of the desired metadata: Periodical name, year, month,
article title, article author, publisher, start page of the article,
page number of the quotation. It would be nice to have scans or photos
showing: the full article containing the quotation, the periodical
name, the publisher, the month, the year.

The revised QI article will present some additional citations.

Bill Mullins kindly sent me a valuable lead, a pointer to a book page
that listed a citation in Fortune magazine. The citation was dated May
1960; however, my attempt to verify the citation has led me to
conclude that the year 1960 is incorrect. Instead, the pertinent
passage appeared in Fortune magazine in May 1964.

[ref] 1964 May, Fortune, Machines That Man Can Talk With by John
Pfeiffer, Start Page 153, Quote Page 194, (Series: Part III: The
Boundless Age of the Computer) Time Inc., Chicago, Illinois. (Verified
with scans) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Conversations between man and machine will always be somewhat stilted
until we have a computer that can understand idioms and interpret the
particular meaning of a word or a sentence with several possible
meanings. This is still a long way off, but a program written by
Anthony Oettinger and Susumu Kuno of Harvard’s Computation Laboratory
permits a computer to list all possible meanings.

“Time flies like an arrow” may seem fairly straightforward to us, but
a machine sees a number of other possibilities—for example, “Time the
speed of flies as quickly as you can” (“time” being interpreted as a
verb rather than a noun) and “Certain flies enjoy an arrow” (“time”
being interpreted as an adjective, and “like” being interpreted as a
verb). The machine could be instructed to rule out these particular
offbeat parsings, but how would it handle the sentence, “Fruit flies
like bananas”? Problems of semantics continue to plague investigators
concerned with advanced man-machine communications.
[End excerpt]


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


End of ADS-L Digest - 22 Sep 2023 to 23 Sep 2023 (#2023-228)

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

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