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Post by pingpong fan » Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:40 pm

Our UK Radio/TV presenters often sign off their programmes with a cheery "see you next week" implying some prospect of a meeting a commonly used form of farewell between acquaintances. Sad as it may be this listener/viewer has shouted back: "oh no you *** won't". Was just curious if said such expressions were used by broadcasters elsewhere. Also am I alone in my saddo-ness?
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Post by russcable » Sun Jun 26, 2005 7:31 pm

IMHO, there are two reasons why this is likely to remain this way for a long time to come - one purely natural, the other perhaps coldly calculated by "Big Brother" ;-) .

First, I think there is little to no pressure for there to be a specialized vocabulary for "one-way telepresense" that is understood on both ends. If you are crying in a psychiatrist's office, the doctor would say "I can see that you are upset" rather than "I can hear that you are upset" even though he can both see and hear that you are upset. If you are crying to Dr. Frasier Crane on his radio show, he would most likely still say those exact words even though in this case he cannot "see" you. While personalities with weekly/daily programs might become adjusted to such a way of thinking (speaking differently on-air than off) there would still be constant appearances of "normal" people who would say things "wrong". Even though pure logic fails to process the exact meaning of each individual word, everyone knows what these phrases mean and no misunderstandings are caused by their usage. OTOH, on the Internet, smileys and some of the other chat shorthand has popped up due to the pressure caused by the "limited two-way telepresense" of only being able to type. There is a real need to provide extra clues that you are laughing, joking, sarcastic, sad, etc. due to the missing audio and visual cues.

The other is the long-standing broadcasting marketing strategy to make listeners/viewers feel like the people on radio/TV are real people and to feel more personally engaged. "Thank you for inviting us into your homes", etc. By saying "See you next week", the presenter effectively says "All of you out there please tune in to spend quality time with all of us here (who are real people whom you like and who like you personally) by watching this program (which you like very much because you are personally involved with it and us) when it is on again which will be in exactly one week so don't forget because you are a part of it." Phew!!! Notice that they are using a phrase that anyone might say in normal conversation thus sounding natural, yet at the same time accomplishing all the marketing goals of making you feel included personally and advertising the next airing of the program. "Watch us here next week" detaches the viewer from personal
involvement with the program by pointing out that he is merely watching. "See us here next" similarly disengages the viewer from the personalities by pointing out the "one-way" relationship, etc.
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Post by Bobinwales » Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:32 pm

Frank, A bit pedantic aren't we? Or should a blind man not say "See you soon", or should we not start a letter "It's good to hear from you" when someone has written to you? They are all manners of speech, and should not be considered as being even remotely literal.
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Post by Phil White » Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:01 pm

The use of the word "see" and similar terms related to the visual sense is firmly embedded in the language with meanings which are not strictly literal. This has been brought home to me vividly recently.

My elderly father has recently been left virtually blind after an eye operation and when talking to him, I became very aware of how often I came up with phrases like "you'll just have to see what help is available" or "we'll see each other in a couple of months".

It served the purpose of making me aware of two things, firstly how very many expressions in daily speech are metaphorical expressions derived from the sense of vision, and secondly how insensitive (entirely inadvertently) such expressions can be in certain contexts. Unsurprisingly, my father is rather sensitive to such things at present, and less likely to take them with a dose of humour. It has heightened my awareness still more of issues such as racist, sexist and ablist language.

As far as your example goes, Russ has just about summed it up. "See" doesn't mean "eyeball" in the example any more than it does when you say "see you down the pub tonight, then". The visual contact is not the issue. In the latter case, it has more of the sense of "meet". In the same way, it's pretty common practice on forums such as this to write things such as "Hi, Leif, haven't seen you for ages," without any fear of being misunderstood.

Modern linguistics is increasingly understanding the importance of metaphor in language, not simply as the rhetorical device we know from literary analysis, but as a way of shaping our entire perception of our world. One of the linguists who has spearheaded this work is George Lakoff. There is a brief introduction with a long passage quoted from "Metaphors We Live By" at http://theliterarylink.com/metaphors.html.

Here's a short passage:
To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept ARGUMENT and the conceptual metaphor ARGUMENT IS WAR. This metaphor is reflected in our everyday language by a wide variety of expressions:

Your claims are indefensible.
He attacked every weak point in my argument.
His criticisms were right on target.
I demolished his argument.
I've never won an argument with him.
you disagree? Okay, shoot!
If you use that strategy, he'll wipe you out.
He shot down all of my arguments.

It is important to see that we don't just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments....

Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By, University of Chicago Press
When you begin to look at language in that way, you begin to realize not only the extent to which the linguistic device is used quite naturally and intuitively (indeed, entirely unconsciously), but also how much of an influence language has on our very culture and society (or is it vice-versa, after all?). It also highlights how very complex any theory of meaning has to be to encompass such real language.

See what I mean?
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Post by Phil White » Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:13 pm

I think that Bob was a tad more concise than I. Explains why he got there first.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:46 pm

Bonsoir, au revoir, et à bientôt de Radio Frankophone. ;-)
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Post by Phil White » Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:03 pm

Auf Wiedersehen bis nächste Woche.
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Post by pingpong fan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:21 pm

Nice hearing from you again Phil(is that short for philologist by the way?) I'll be seeing you. Catch you later - FRANK
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Post by kagriffy » Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:42 pm

This whole concept reminds me of "Romper Room," which was an "educational" TV program in the US in the mid- or late 60s. The hostess of the show had a "magic mirror," and each day's program would end with something like "I see Billy; I see Suzie; . . . ." Every boy named Billy and every girl named Suzie was CONVINCED she could actually SEE them through their TV sets!

On a side note, one of the WORST examples of the "see you later" sign-off was the former co-anchor on our local TV news. Every evening, she would close the news with "We'll look for you later." My response (I often talk back to the TV) was always, "You can look, but you won't find me!" *G*
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Post by Phil White » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:47 pm

Phil (is that short for philologist by the way?)
Do you have any particular reason for thinking that it's not plain and simple Philippa?
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Post by pingpong fan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:59 pm

To: Phil White
If that's your reply to me? Don't call me Philippa.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jun 29, 2005 7:27 am

This exchange is giving me the pippa.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:45 am

By the way, Frank, one unequivocal measure of what you referred to as 'saddo-ness' is suffering the fate of one fellow that I heard about a couple of years ago. He had to have a hearing aid prescribed by his GP after deafening himself over a period of years with his intensive shouting at the television, especially when watching sports.
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Post by pingpong fan » Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:40 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote: one fellow that I heard about a couple of years ago. He had to have a hearing aid prescribed by his GP after deafening himself over a period of years with his intensive shouting at the television, especially when watching sports.
Pardon.
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Post by Alton » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:00 pm

Dear Pingpong,
As bothersome as may it to hear this said "see you next week" and I do sympathise, take pity on us poor North Americans many of whom, myself included can barely conceal our chagrin when a store clerk says to us "have a nice day".
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