Author Topic: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?  (Read 472 times)

Offline Rock100

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Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« on: February 20, 2020, 03:25:43 PM »
Hello. I believe an every more or less educated Russian can guess the poet from the following pseudo-poems:
138 5 15
12 8 45
17 19 20
4 225

Or
2 46 38 1
116 14 20
15 14 21
14 0 17

Is such a thing possible in English or other languages? Can you give examples?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 10:17:45 PM »
I don't really understand. Do the numbers rhyme with the words in the verse or something? I don't know that poetry knowledge is that common or similar among all English speakers, although certainly some things might be guessed like certain song lyrics, or more regionally famous poems (or songs).
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Offline Rock100

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2020, 05:25:46 AM »
The numbers being pronounced represent not just a verse but the style of the very concrete poet. I hated (with exactly one exception) poetry being a child and do not care about it completely (no exceptions) now. But being said that (it is a kind of out of the school program but extremely classic guy)
14 126 14
132 17 43...
16 42 511
704 83
is the poet B I will likely identify correctly 70% of his real poems though I have never heard them before.
There are more Russian in the US than we have them here nowadays (I have never been in the US so I may be wrong about this) and you can check the idea yourself. I believe that 90% of new American Russians be them doctors, hoboes, programmers, etc. will identify the first poet and 100% will call the name of the second one. Moreover, I admit even the stronger assertion – the second numbers (2 46 38 1…) are the necessary and sufficient condition (in mathematical sense) of being Russian. I.e. if a person cannot get the poet, his is not Russian already.
I think there is a kind of an easier experiment. You can get to a truck stop and show #2 to the drivers. If less than say 30% of them were able to call the name you are not in the States.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2020, 07:29:57 AM »
You still haven't explained how this works. What do numbers have to do with poetry? Pronunciation? Rhythm? Something else?
Your posts here have some interesting ideas, but seem more like homework projects ("get to a truck stop and show the drivers") than discussions. Something to think about.
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Offline Rock100

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2020, 09:14:01 AM »
> You still haven't explained how this works. What do numbers
>  have to do with poetry? Pronunciation? Rhythm? Something else?
I really do not know. I just hope anyone with the proper knowledge will be able to explain. The rhythm is extremely important but believe me Russians do not need to know it. We will get the correct rhythm automatically while repeating these several times. The effect probably has something to do with the
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

but we do have the same concept in Russian (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glokaya_kuzdra) and to my opinion this is completely different from the trick I describe here.

> Your posts here have some interesting ideas, but seem more like
> homework projects ("get to a truck stop and show the drivers") than
> discussions. Something to think about.
Heh, I wished I were at the age to do the school homework projects again. But you may be very close. As far as I cannot visit Iowa 80 or a similar place, you are my truck stop. But as far as I am not a professional linguist and some of my thoughts might look very naive I put them here, at the fun section.

Back to the numbers. I believe the complete explanation may end up with some serious math. At least that was the case with my attempt to understand what the grammatical cases system is. My investigations ended up with something like the thorough and unambiguous treatment of the cases was given by Kolmogorov in his private talk to Uspensky (there were such words but I cannot state it for sure now) and it required very solid knowledge algebraic group theory. As far as my subdivision in the university placed the emphasis on the totally useless math analysis I have given up on the idea to perceive the cases.
So, I will be very happy if someone gives me the hints of how the pronouncing of a sequence of numbers can associate with the style of a poetry and identify a concrete poet.
For those who studies Russian and feels the powers to respond to the challenge here goes a little hint about #2. Not a single Russian would ever read the #2 voluntarily unless he is a professional linguist or a schoolchild (they have no choice) or a psychotherapist (or his patient). But every Russian knows the poet. At least I can still read several dozens of lines of his poems by heart. After thirty years.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2020, 10:11:31 AM »
This discussion is relevant and interesting. I'm just saying that sometimes it seems like the way you're writing is as if you want us to guess a mystery (with only half the information), rather than just sharing what you know, so it's hard to have that conversation. I still don't understand how the numbers thing works: I'm just guessing at this point that it is the sound of the numbers that resembles the sound of the poems, but you still haven't explained that. You don't need to use technical terminology, I'm just wondering what you mean. I have no relatable experience with seeing numbers on a website and then guessing a poet, so there must be something more to it. And remember, those of us who don't read Russian aren't even getting the same rhythm you are (so you for example you could write out the numbers as words, and then also share a line of the poem so we could see the similarity).
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Offline Rock100

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2020, 11:14:48 AM »
> I'm just saying that sometimes it seems like the way you're writing
> is as if you want us to guess a mystery
Hm… This is the fun section of the site, do you remember?

> I'm just guessing at this point that it is the sound of the numbers
> that resembles the sound of the poems, but you still haven't explained that.
That is because I am not sure myself. Of course, the numbers do represent the sound of the poems. Moreover, they are the poems of concrete extremely well known poets. But to become a poem or verse they must be read with a very concrete intonation, rhythm, melodic or whatever other notions you use in describing the poetry (again, I am NOT an expert and do not like poetry personally). The printed numbers above miss this information. However, I claim the Russian from Russia (i.e. that one that has the classical Russian education probably not even modern Russian but the Soviet one) will easily restore that missing information while starting to pronounce the numbers. I do not know why does it happen but would like to know.
> I have no relatable experience with seeing numbers on a website and
> then guessing a poet, so there must be something more to it.
This makes me believe the trick is not possible in English. I do hope the level of the visitors of this site is (probably much) higher than the truck drivers’ one. Therefore, I will not need to cross-examine the whole Iowa 80 but to listen to three or four opinions here. Again, just to fulfill my personal curiosity. For fun. In the fun section of this site.
> And remember, those of us who don't read Russian aren't even
> getting the same rhythm you are
This is very good point. I will treat the person who could guess the poets above as being the Russian or the extremely gifted linguist specialized in Russian.

Offline waive15

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 12:15:27 PM »
Hi there,

You have to read the numbers in Russian.

Metre (poetry) sounds like

1. Alexander Pushkin:

17 30 48        x/x/x/x/x     9
140 10 01      x/x/x/x/       8
126 138         x/x/x/x/x     9
140 3 501      x/x/x/x/       8

2. Sergei Yesenin

14 126 14      x/xxx/x/x/xx     12
132 17 43...   x/x/x/xxx/        10
16 42 511     x/x/x/x/x/xx      12
704 83         x/x/x/xxx/          10

And so on.

Offline Rock100

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2020, 01:14:33 PM »
Well, of course, the googling was not the intention. I was mainly interested in the information if the trick is possible in the other languages. But it has just occurred to me that I could do something for you (and probably the linguistics) in return. So, if you find the idea to be fun enough I decided to make such a pseudo-verse for you by myself. The task to identify the original author is enormously hard because:
1. The numbers were created by myself. I am not a qualified linguist, poet, or anything like that.
2. The poet I imitate is extremely rare and let as call it specific. However, he (yes, you may consider this as a hint) is pretty well known.

You are free to google, to ask professors from the Moscow State University or to try to cheat the way you want. I will be enormously surprised if anyone could guess the author of this:
10 7 4 8
207 5 100
5 13 48
30100

I should probably register on a Russian linguistic forum and send it there. I do not believe there would be a person who could solve it.

Offline waive15

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2020, 12:38:21 AM »
Hi, Rock100,

I am sorry for not answering your question. I didn't mean to offend you. I'll give it a try.

10 7 4 8       /x/x/x/x    8
/in Russian/

4 11 67       /x/x/x/x     8
/four  eleven  sixty-seven/

Of course as a foreigner in English I pronounce   -en as schwa + n.

Once again I apologize.

Offline Rock100

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Re: Can you do such a thing in English or another language?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2020, 04:33:03 AM »
> I didn't mean to offend you.
To somehow offend a Russian in the Internet? You are kidding me, right?
> 4 11 67
Brilliant! The trick does work with the English numbers indeed. It will also work for la-la-la, tra-ta-ta or fa-fa-fa (these will be much more simpler). So if you inform me that you can use the trick with numbers to tell the difference between Chaucer and Byron I will be absolutely happy. (But if you still were able to guess the poet right I would be rather afraid but not offended too).
And by the way, I cannot stop thinking that your 4 11 67 in Russian is nearly the Nekrasov’s "Однажды в студеную зимнюю пору" but it should be 68 indeed…