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Subject: To say nothing of, not to mention, etc.
Question: 1. Book Title: Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) 2. She's overweight, not to mention her high blood pressure. I know these are idioms of sorts but is there a linguistic term for these phrases that say something not to be said. Is this sarcasm? Irony? I give up. I would love an answer. Thank you, Kathryn Klein
Reply: Hi, Kathryn, Well, they're not quite sarcasm nor ironic, though they could be used in both of these ways. Note also that you could add to your second example: I'm not going to mention that she's overweight, not ... which is (sort of) lying, apart from the other things you mention. (Not quite lying, because I *am* mentioning it, not doing so in the future.) Anyway, these are some of the lnguistic tricks we use to sneak in mentions of things while we deny doing so. Such arguments, however, are not likely to help us much if we get sued in court. Even real exculpatory arguments along these lines do not always work in court, by the way. See the recent books by Roger W. Shuy (google him or go to Amazon and look him up, maybe adding 'forensic linguistics' to your search). Hope this helps some. Jim James L. Fidelholtz Graduate Program in Language Sciences Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO
Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      click here to access email
Date: 29-Nov-2012

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