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Re: Another Russian Question

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Saturday, September 22, 2001, 18:24
John Cowan:
> Here's my counter-maxim: > > We call nothing profound that is not wittily expressed. > --Northrop Frye, improved by John Cowan
... which could also mean "Vacuity is not wittily expressed, and we call it profound". Which also happens to be true. That reading would vanish if the maxim were rephrased as "We call profound nothing that is not wittily expressed" or "We call nothing that is not wittily expressed profound"[*], so I wonder whether your improvement was the introduction of this engaging ambiguity. [* The reason is that that-relatives can be nonrestrictive when they both modify nouns denoting singleton categories and have 'comma intonation', and the extraposition of the that-relative forces comma intonation even in the absence of any written comma] --And.