March 06, 2005

More stressed 'know'

Amanda Marcotte of Mouse Words writes,

Texas is a big state, which people from the outside know, but don't really know. When I met my boyfriend's dad and stepmom, who were down in Beaumont visiting his sister, they asked how far away it was to El Paso, where I was born. I said, "Oh get on I-10 and drive about 850 miles." [emphasis in original, of course!]

Interesting context shift there (or whatever you think is accomplished by stressing 'know'). It could be taken to mean, "Non-Texans think Texas is big, but they don't think it's as big as it really is." Or, what I think is more likely, "Non-Texans think Texas is big, but they don't really understand it." We know Texas is big, but we can't apply our knowledge, as some logic students know the Modus Ponens rule but can't apply it. (I have no particular students in mind.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at March 6, 2005 12:38 PM