Category Archives: Language

Language is based in threes. Sender, message, receiver. Subject verb object. A language involves a semantic system, a phonological system, and a syntactic system. Phonetics study the sounds of languages from three basic points of view.

Rhetorical Devices — Rule of Three

The rule of three describes triads of all types — any collection of three related elements. Two more specific triad variants are hendiatris and tricolon.


A hendiatris is a figure of speech where three successive words are used to express a central idea.

Examples of hendiatris include:

  • Veni, vidi, vici.” [Julius Caesar]
  • Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité [French motto]
  • Citius, Altius, Fortius” [Olympic motto]
  • Wine, women, and song” [Anonymous]


tricolon is a series of three parallel elements (words or phrases). In a strict tricolon, the elements have the same length but this condition is often put aside.

Examples of tricola include:

  • “Veni, vidi, vici.” [Julius Caesar]
  • Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” [Advice for speakers from Franklin D. Roosevelt]
  • Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation – not because of [1] the height of our skyscrapers, or [2] the power of our military, or [3] the size of our economy.” [Barack Obama, Keynote speech to Democratic National Convention, July 2004]

3 Simple Phrases Great Leaders Always Use

July 23, 2016 • 311 Likes • 20


“By habitually using these 3 phrases, you will strengthen your ability to effortlessly lead others in the direction that you want them to go. And that simply will make your role as a leader much more powerful and meaningful – something we all want when leading other people.”

They are:

  1. “And here’s why…”
  2. “Would you mind…”
  3. “Does this make sense?”

An often-cited but frequently misunderstood communication study completed by UCLA researcher Albert Mehrabian found that  93% of communication comes from something other than the words used.

Translation – only 7% comes from the actual words themselves.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

So why is this nugget of useful information so commonly misunderstood? Because in reality, the study doesn’t really relate to understanding the literal meaning of the words that are communicated.

It really relates to the impact of the words or the impression the person has of the communicator.

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Having said that

What does it mean when people start a sentence with “Having said that….” ?

“Having said that” is a transitional phrase that has become more and more common in spoken language. When people say, “Having said that” it is a signal that they are going to say something which will contrast or disagree with what they said a moment ago. Take, for example, this quote from a man talking about his father’s death:

  • “He was 93 years old, so it was the natural way of things. Having said that, it’s still a shock when it actually happens, when your parent dies.”

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Limerick – anapestic trimeter


Limericks are short poems of five lines having rhyme structure AABBA. It is officially described as a form of ‘anapestic trimeter’. The ‘anapest’ is a foot of poetic verse consisting of three syllables, the third longer (or accentuated to a greater degree) than the first two: da-da-DA.

Definition of Anapest

Anapest is a poetic device defined as a metrical foot in a line of a poem that contains three syllables wherein the first two syllables are short and unstressed followed by a third syllable that is long and stressed as given in this line “I must finish my journey alone.” Here the anapestic foot is marked in bold.

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Hindu-Arabic numerals

Muslim caculation systems
Muslim caculation systems

The Indian numerals discussed in our article Indian numerals form the basis of the European number systems which are now widely used. However they were not transmitted directly from India to Europe but rather came first to the Arabic/Islamic peoples and from them to Europe.

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List-Construction as a Task and Resource

By Gail Jefferson

This report is a preliminary examination of lists occurring in natural conversation. It focuses upon the work which list-construction, as a task, allots to speakers, and some uses to which list-construction, as a resource, can be put by speakers.

The presence of three-part lists are first noted. Speakers and hearers orient to their three-part nature. The completed list can then constitute a turn at talk and the hearer can monitor the third component as a sign of turn completion. Lists can thereby’ be a conversational sequential resource.

By virtue of the three-part structure of some lists, members can orient to such matters as a “weak,” “absent,” or “missing” third part. Third items can be used to accomplish particular interactional work, such as topic-shifting and offense avoidance.

Further, a list can be constructed by more than one speaker. This feature may be used for a range of activities, including the achievement of interactional accord in situations of impending discord.

Read report here – List construction


C. S. Peirce – Triadism and the Universal Categories

sign aspects
sign aspects

9. Triadism and the Universal Categories

Merely to say that Peirce was extremely fond of placing things into groups of three, of trichotomies, and of triadic relations, would fail miserably to do justice to the overwhelming obtrusiveness in his philosophy of the number three.

Indeed, he made the most fundamental categories of all “things” of any sort whatsoever the categories of “Firstness,” “Secondness,” and “Thirdness,” and he often described “things” as being “firsts” or “seconds” or “thirds.”

Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce

For example, with regard to the trichotomy “possibility,” “actuality,” and “necessity,” possibility he called a first, actuality he called a second, and necessity he called a third. Again: quality was a first, fact was a second, and habit (or rule or law) was a third. Again: entity was a first, relation was a second, and representation was a third. Again: rheme (by which Peirce meant a relation of arbitrary adicity or arity) was a first, proposition was a second, and argument was a third.

The list goes on and on. Let us refer to Peirce’s penchant for describing things in terms of trichotomies and triadic relations as Peirce’s “triadism.”

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List of common fallacies – Aristotle’s Logos


Logic (Deduction and Induction)  is one of the three roads from the Trivium.

The Subject of Logic: “Syllogisms”
All Aristotle’s logic revolves around one notion: the deduction (sullogismos). A thorough explanation of what a deduction is, and what they are composed of, will necessarily lead us through the whole of his theory. What, then, is a deduction? Aristotle says:

A deduction is speech (logos) in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from those supposed results of necessity because of their being so. (Prior Analytics I.2, 24b18-20)
Each of the “things supposed” is a premise (protasis) of the argument, and what “results of necessity” is the conclusion (sumperasma).

The core of this definition is the notion of “resulting of necessity” (ex anankês sumbainein). This corresponds to a modern notion of logical consequence: X results of necessity from Y and Z if it would be impossible for X to be false when Y and Z are true. We could therefore take this to be a general definition of “valid argument”.

When arguing with someone in an attempt to get at an answer or an explanation, you may come across a person who makes logical fallacies. Such discussions may prove futile. You might try asking for evidence and independent confirmation or provide other hypotheses that give a better or simpler explanation. If this fails, try to pinpoint the problem of your arguer’s position. You might spot the problem of logic that prevents further exploration and attempt to inform your arguer about his fallacy. The following briefly describes some of the most common fallacies:

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