Thursday, June 23, 2011

Absent Punctuation = Semantic Possibilities

Last year I shared some 6-Word Stories written by 9th graders with reading disabilities. I was recently sent another collection of these stories and would like to share one in particular.

We search so much for nothing.

Because there is no internal punctuation, my dialectical background allows me to interpret this story in two different ways.

We search so much...for nothing. (We search all the time for nothing in particular.
)

and

We search...so much for nothing. (We search/ed and it wasn't worth the effort because we never found what we were searching for.)

The second reading is based on the fact that "so much for nothing" was used as an idiomatic expression
in my youth. The kids in my neighborhood would shout it out anytime they were disappointed in the outcome of an action.




4 comments:

J. Davis said...

I see a third possibility, albeit poetic in form.

We search so… much for nothing. (We search in this way and it wasn't worth it.)

The Ridger, FCD said...

There's also "for nothing = unpaid", and "for nothing = with no result".

Anonymous said...

Woman without her man is nothing.
Woman! Without her, man is nothing.

Anonymous said...

Laura, it's picnic-Kirsti checking in. i also studied linguistics at Wayne State! We seem to have much in common besides pinnochle and a lake...

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