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Useless argument. WARNING: basic semantic theory inside (Recruitment)

by Funkmon @, Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 05:48 (493 days ago) @ Kermit

You're trying to apply a sense of logic to the usage, which won't work.

If we examine the difference between in and inside etymologically, you'll note that in is a pre historic English word, whereas inside is modern and its prepositional usage comes about in reference to the noun, the IN side, versus the OUT side, implying a border. This is irrelevant, but I am surprised nobody made the argument based on history. Good for you people.

You've also tried to employ Grice's maxims of Quantity and Manner. These explain your confusion, as you think that saying inside is necessarily more specific than in, which is true.

The maxims are rules of communication that every speaker assumes his interlocutor follows by default. The maxim of quantity states that people give as much information as needed, and no more. The maxim of manner states that one avoids ambiguity.

Example: you call your friend on the phone. "I'm on your street, but what's your address?" "123 Sesame Street, Crossville, Tennessee."

This is a weird answer and you think he thinks you're in the wrong city because he shouldn't have needed to state so much info if you're on his street.

"What does it look like?" "It's lovely"

This is weird because the information is not helpful and it's ambiguous.

When people violate these maxims (among a few others), they are either being deceptive or don't understand them, which means they are awkward conversationally.

Now, who is to say that inside versus in violates these maxims? Easy. We all can, using set theory and native speaker intuition.

If {x|inside} ⊂ {x|in}, then we can say that the set of all things inside are contained in the set of all things that are in, and the set of all things that are in are NOT contained in the set of things that are inside.

I think most of us would agree. You can be in the groove, but not inside the groove. These mean different things. You can color inside the lines, and in the lines, and while in the lines is uncommon, it isn't wrong.

Hence, saying inside is necessarily more specific than in, implying extra information which confuses the other person, as he infers it to rule out all things that are in but not inside, and even borderline cases, as interlocutors with the goal of information exchange would not provide the extra information unless necessary in this case.

Some may actually disagree, and say that the set of all things that are inside has the same members as the set of all things that are in. In this case, which is what I think Raichu is arguing, there is no meaningful distinction between the two, that all things that are in are also inside and vice versa.

There is no logic in this. We have native speaker intuition on the meanings of inside versus in. If Raichu thinks they mean the same thing, he either lacks some kind of way of picking up language subtleties, can't follow the maxims (we all know someone like this), or exhibits a fundamental semantic shift in the meaning of inside, which is possible, even in as short of a time as we've been around (examine the change of "ground zero" to mean the origin point from which something has spread, for example).

Either way, the argument is useless and Raichu's ideas cannot be changed, as he either disagrees with the definition (against which one cannot reasonably argue at this level of subtlety) or doesn't follow conversational maxims (which are innate to most of us, and are nigh impossible to learn).


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