For those online "Grammar Police"...
The gostak distims the doshes?
Gostak is a meaningless noun that is used in the phrase "the gostak distims the doshes", which is an example of how it is possible to derive meaning from the syntax of a sentence, even if the referents of the terms are entirely unknown.
The phrase was coined in 1903 by Andrew Ingraham, but is best known through its quotation in 1923 by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards in their book "The Meaning of Meaning", and has been since referred to in a number of cultural contexts.
Coined in 1903 by Andrew Ingraham, the sentence became more widely known through its quotation in 1923 by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards in their book "The Meaning of Meaning" (p. 46). Ogden and Richards refer to Ingraham as an "able but little known writer", and quote his following dialogue:
"Suppose someone to assert: The gostak distims the doshes. You do not know what this means; nor do I. But if we assume that it is English, we know that the doshes are distimmed by the gostak. We know too that one distimmer of doshes is a gostak. If, moreover, the doshes are galloons, we know that some galloons are distimmed by the gostak. And so we may go on, and so we often do go on."This can be seen in the following dialogue:
Q: What is the gostak?
A: The gostak is that which distims the doshes.
Q: What's distimming?
A: Distimming is that which the gostak does to the doshes.
Q: Okay, but what are doshes?
A: The doshes are what the gostak distims.
In this case, it is possible to describe the relationships between the terms in the sentence—that the gostak is that which distims the doshes, that distimming is what the gostak does to the doshes, and so on—even though there is no fact of the matter about what a gostak or doshes actually are.
TAKE NOTE: The English language is, has, and will always be - EVOLVING!
Get over it, anal languagphobes!
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