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THEORY: Expressing the outcome of "productive" actions

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  • Harald S.
    A bright and shining hello to the list! :))) Being a regular reader but rare poster who conlangs to research language as such to discover its mechanisms and
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 26, 2005
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      A bright and shining hello to the list! :)))

      Being a regular reader but rare poster who conlangs to research language as
      such to discover its mechanisms and paradigms, I herby delurk and want to
      share one thought about semantics that I have seen mentioned nowhere else so
      far. I hope it won't be too philosophical and I would be eager to know
      whether you have chosen one of the following two approaches in a conlang -
      or even found yet another way to express what I am about to discuss...

      In the sentence "I shouted 'Hello everybody!'", the text 'Hello everybody!'
      is not the shout itself but rather the wording of my shout (being the
      acoustic consequence of me shouting) which was set free by me as the agent.
      Rick Morneau would have called 'Hello everybody!' the focus of the event
      since it is an elaboration of the event itself and, being a core argument,
      is neither agent nor patient. For speakers of German and English though,
      'Hello everybody!' has the "look and feel" of the patient case role quite
      convincingly because passive voice can be constructed as "'Hello everybody!'
      was shouted by me" and somehow it appears that "I" is the agent and 'Hello
      everybody!' is the patient of our example sentence.

      But what about the outcome (acoustic in this case) of my event of shouting?
      If English had a case for it - let's call it "resultive" -, would (using a
      hypothetical resultive case suffix of "ox") a sentence such as "I shouted
      'Hello everybody!' thunderox" mean "I shouted using the words 'Hello
      everybody!' and my shout was thunder"? If yes, then which kind of case role
      would 'Hello everybody!' be? Certainly not the patient, would it? I rather
      see notions of instrumentality but still I am not very sure...

      Analyzing another example, let us consider "She paints something red on the
      blackboard". "something red" does not appear to me like a mere elaboration
      of the event. It rather looks like an object being acted on and, thus, seems
      to be the patient of the sentence. In my opinion, English and German have
      quite a strange view on the process being illustrated here. One could
      understand it as an imaginary object (described as "something red") being
      moved by painting from an unspecified location within potentiality to an
      explicit destination in reality, namely the blackboard. But for such a kind
      of meaning, no "resultive" case role would be implied at all!

      Thus my questions: Which approach have you taken in your own conlang? Is
      there another way to put it? Please let me know...

      Cheers and thank you very much,
      Harald
      :))))))
    • Larry Sulky
      ... taliesin, where might I learn more about them? Can you recommend a source, or will a Google search suffice?
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 26, 2005
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        On 10/26/05, taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...> wrote:
        > * taliesin the storyteller said on 2005-10-26 22:47:47 +0200
        ---SNIP---
        > ... an accusative, much like in Latin in fact. Have you read up on
        > raising verbs and control verbs?
        >
        taliesin, where might I learn more about them? Can you recommend a
        source, or will a Google search suffice?
        ----larry
      • tomhchappell
        ... language as ... want to ... nowhere else so ... know ... conlang - ... discuss... ... everybody! ... the ... the agent. ... event ... argument, ...
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 26, 2005
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          --- In conlang@yahoogroups.com, "Harald S." <polysynthetic@I...>
          wrote:
          >
          > A bright and shining hello to the list! :)))
          >
          > Being a regular reader but rare poster who conlangs to research
          language as
          > such to discover its mechanisms and paradigms, I herby delurk and
          want to
          > share one thought about semantics that I have seen mentioned
          nowhere else so
          > far. I hope it won't be too philosophical and I would be eager to
          know
          > whether you have chosen one of the following two approaches in a
          conlang -
          > or even found yet another way to express what I am about to
          discuss...
          >
          > In the sentence "I shouted 'Hello everybody!'", the text 'Hello
          everybody!'
          > is not the shout itself but rather the wording of my shout (being
          the
          > acoustic consequence of me shouting) which was set free by me as
          the agent.
          > Rick Morneau would have called 'Hello everybody!' the focus of the
          event
          > since it is an elaboration of the event itself and, being a core
          argument,
          > is neither agent nor patient.

          > For speakers of German and English though,
          > 'Hello everybody!' has the "look and feel" of the patient case role

          Indeed, an effected patient (factitive), rather than a theme or an
          affected patient.

          > quite
          > convincingly because passive voice can be constructed as "'Hello
          everybody!'
          > was shouted by me" and somehow it appears that "I" is the agent
          and 'Hello
          > everybody!' is the patient of our example sentence.
          >
          > But what about the outcome (acoustic in this case) of my event of
          shouting?
          > If English had a case for it - let's call it "resultive" -, would
          (using a
          > hypothetical resultive case suffix of "ox") a sentence such as "I
          shouted
          > 'Hello everybody!' thunderox" mean "I shouted using the
          words 'Hello
          > everybody!' and my shout was thunder"?

          My first guess, in this case, is that "thunder" is the effected
          patient (factitive), and 'Hello everybody!' is a nominalized sentence
          in the /genitive/; since it is a nounish thing which tells more about
          its head noun, the "thunder".

          My second guess would be that perhaps 'Hello everybody!' is still the
          factitive, and "thunder" is now equative -- tells what class the
          factitive was in.

          Got to go -- more later maybe.

          > If yes, then which kind of case role
          > would 'Hello everybody!' be? Certainly not the patient, would it? I
          rather
          > see notions of instrumentality but still I am not very sure...
          >
          > Analyzing another example, let us consider "She paints something
          red on the
          > blackboard". "something red" does not appear to me like a mere
          elaboration
          > of the event. It rather looks like an object being acted on and,
          thus, seems
          > to be the patient of the sentence. In my opinion, English and
          German have
          > quite a strange view on the process being illustrated here. One
          could
          > understand it as an imaginary object (described as "something red")
          being
          > moved by painting from an unspecified location within potentiality
          to an
          > explicit destination in reality, namely the blackboard. But for
          such a kind
          > of meaning, no "resultive" case role would be implied at all!
          >
          > Thus my questions: Which approach have you taken in your own
          conlang? Is
          > there another way to put it? Please let me know...
          >
          > Cheers and thank you very much,
          > Harald
          > :))))))
          >
        • Henrik Theiling
          Hi! ... It would be the patient in all of my languages. Analysing it, I think Hello everybody can well be argued to be the same case role as some words
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 27, 2005
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            Hi!

            Harald S. writes:
            >... "I shouted 'Hello everybody!'" ...
            >... "something red" ...

            It would be the patient in all of my languages.

            Analysing it, I think '"Hello everybody"' can well be argued to be the
            same case role as 'some words' in 'I shouted some words.' One is an
            abstract description of an utterance, the other is an example of an
            utterance, naming directly that very utterance that is shouted. I
            think the main difference is not case role, but level of abstraction.
            So if I were to make the difference explicit, I'd not change the case
            marking, but would introduce a marker for explicit examples, i.e., a
            direct speech marker.

            Further, calling 'some words' a patient would be some kind of metaphor
            that treats abstract concepts as objects. This metaphor strikes me as
            extremely normal, but of course, I'm influenced by the culture I grew
            up in!

            The explicit marking reminds me of Mandarin Chinese that has a marker
            for names: it is used (optionally, I think) after a name to make it a
            name unambiguously, e.g.:

            Li3 shi4 Ya4zhou1 Shi2pin3 Gong1si1
            Li <the_name> Asian Food Company

            So this is not 'plum' but 'Li'.

            **Henrik
          • Harald S.
            Hi people, thank you for the responses so far! :-)) ... Right. But what I am currently pondering is the following: Would it be perversly odd to interpret
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 28, 2005
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              Hi people, thank you for the responses so far! :-))

              On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 03:21:01 +0200, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:

              >Further, calling 'some words' a patient would be some kind of metaphor
              >that treats abstract concepts as objects. This metaphor strikes me as
              >extremely normal, but of course, I'm influenced by the culture I grew
              >up in!
              >

              Right. But what I am currently pondering is the following: Would it be
              perversly odd to interpret speech acts (like shouting in my example
              sentence) as concepts essentially similar to witchcraft? And if yes, then I
              am eager to do exactly that! *lol*

              Let me explain:

              If the utterance "I shouted some words" could be understood as "I turned
              some words into a shout", then it would be related conceptually to the
              sentence "The witch turned a flower into a dishwasher". Obviously then,
              speech acts actually have two objects: the target of speech before the
              conversion and, secondly, the target of speech after the conversion into
              sound. Not _that_ strange actually. Think of a tool that technology has
              given modern people: Text-to-speech software which bears this conversion
              process right as its name! ;-)))

              Anyway, the notion of "speech magic" makes me grin considerably. Something
              for a not-very-usual conlang, I guess... :D

              Cheers and a wonderful day plus weekend,
              Harald
              :-)))))
            • tomhchappell
              ... I don t think it would be perversely odd . I don t know how odd or un- odd it might be, but IM(H?)O it isn t perverse . I was going to
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 29, 2005
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                --- In conlang@yahoogroups.com, "Harald S." <polysynthetic@I...>
                > wrote:
                > Hi people, thank you for the responses so far! :-))
                > On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 03:21:01 +0200, Henrik Theiling <theiling@A...>
                > wrote:
                > >Further, calling 'some words' a patient would be some kind of
                > >metaphor that treats abstract concepts as objects. This metaphor
                > >strikes me as extremely normal, but of course, I'm influenced by
                > >the culture I grew up in!
                > >
                >
                > Right. But what I am currently pondering is the following: Would it
                > be perversly odd to interpret speech acts (like shouting in my
                > example sentence) as concepts essentially similar to witchcraft?
                > And if yes, then I am eager to do exactly that! *lol*

                I don't think it would be "perversely odd". I don't know how "odd"
                or un-"odd" it might be, but IM(H?)O it isn't "perverse".

                I was going to correct/amend/emend/add to my previous post to suggest
                that in "I said 'some words' thunder.", one of "'some words'"
                or "thunder" was essive, rather than genitive or equative, while the
                other was factitive. E.g. suppose 'some words' is factitive;
                "I said 'somewords' /as/ thunder" would make "thunder" essive.

                However, while thinking about that, I thought "couldn't it
                be /translative/ instead of essive?" Then, I read the post to which
                I am now replying.

                It seems to me that if one turns "'some words'" into "thunder", or,
                turns "thunder" into "'some words'", -- either way, it's a kind
                of "witchcraft", as you have written of it.

                "I said 'some words' (so that they became) thunder."
                or
                "I said thunder (so that it became) 'some words'.".

                Of course, "thunder" could be in an adverbal case, rather than an
                adnominal case; in which case the better translation might be
                "I thundered 'some words'."

                > Let me explain:
                >
                > If the utterance "I shouted some words" could be understood as "I
                > turned some words into a shout", then it would be related
                > conceptually to the sentence "The witch turned a flower into a
                > dishwasher". Obviously then, speech acts actually have two objects:
                > the target of speech before the conversion and, secondly, the
                > target of speech after the conversion into sound. Not _that_
                > strange actually. Think of a tool that technology has given modern
                > people: Text-to-speech software which bears this conversion
                > process right as its name! ;-)))
                >
                > Anyway, the notion of "speech magic" makes me grin considerably.
                > Something for a not-very-usual conlang, I guess... :D
                >
                > Cheers and a wonderful day plus weekend,
                > Harald
                > :-)))))
              • JR
                ... I was not aware of the term factitive, and after googling it I m still not entirely sure what it means. It seems to be primarily used to describe verbs,
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 2, 2005
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                  on 10/29/05 4:38 PM, tomhchappell at tomhchappell@... wrote:

                  > --- In conlang@yahoogroups.com, "Harald S." <polysynthetic@I...>
                  >> wrote:
                  >> Hi people, thank you for the responses so far! :-))
                  >> On Fri, 28 Oct 2005 03:21:01 +0200, Henrik Theiling <theiling@A...>
                  >> wrote:
                  >>> Further, calling 'some words' a patient would be some kind of
                  >>> metaphor that treats abstract concepts as objects. This metaphor
                  >>> strikes me as extremely normal, but of course, I'm influenced by
                  >>> the culture I grew up in!
                  >>>
                  >>
                  >> Right. But what I am currently pondering is the following: Would it
                  >> be perversly odd to interpret speech acts (like shouting in my
                  >> example sentence) as concepts essentially similar to witchcraft?
                  >> And if yes, then I am eager to do exactly that! *lol*
                  >
                  > I don't think it would be "perversely odd". I don't know how "odd"
                  > or un-"odd" it might be, but IM(H?)O it isn't "perverse".
                  >
                  > I was going to correct/amend/emend/add to my previous post to suggest
                  > that in "I said 'some words' thunder.", one of "'some words'"
                  > or "thunder" was essive, rather than genitive or equative, while the
                  > other was factitive. E.g. suppose 'some words' is factitive;
                  > "I said 'somewords' /as/ thunder" would make "thunder" essive.
                  >
                  > However, while thinking about that, I thought "couldn't it
                  > be /translative/ instead of essive?" Then, I read the post to which
                  > I am now replying.

                  I was not aware of the term factitive, and after googling it I'm still not
                  entirely sure what it means. It seems to be primarily used to describe
                  verbs, not nouns, that cause something to be changed. In Kar Marinam I use
                  the Translative case to mark any object that was "created" or changed
                  significantly. I put quotes around "created" because most of the time when
                  we talk about creation what's really happening is that one thing is changing
                  into another, even if we don't think of it that way, and this is why I use
                  the same case for both. So in Kar Marinam, a quote itself is left unmarked,
                  but if a regular noun is used, such as "words," it will be in the
                  translative case, because words do not hover around waiting to be acted
                  upon, but are brought about through the act of speaking. The thing that is
                  converted into speech is, I suppose, under ordinary circumstances, primarily
                  the air, as its molecules bounce around, and perhaps the tiny vibrating
                  bones and fluid in the listener's ear, and really also all the brain cells
                  that interpret those vibrations, and the muscles in the mouth and throat of
                  the speaker, and the mental states of both the speaker and listener. They
                  all combine to produce what we call words. These *could* be marked as the
                  Patient in KM, though I don't think anyone would feel the need to mention
                  them at all, just as they don't in English. Perhaps in poetry.

                  I'm not sure how one would convert thunder into speech. I'd think thundering
                  air is vibrating too much already to be overwhelmed by anyone's mouth. It
                  would be quite a feat!

                  > It seems to me that if one turns "'some words'" into "thunder", or,
                  > turns "thunder" into "'some words'", -- either way, it's a kind
                  > of "witchcraft", as you have written of it.
                  >
                  > "I said 'some words' (so that they became) thunder."
                  > or
                  > "I said thunder (so that it became) 'some words'.".
                  >
                  > Of course, "thunder" could be in an adverbal case, rather than an
                  > adnominal case; in which case the better translation might be
                  > "I thundered 'some words'."
                  >
                  >> Let me explain:
                  >>
                  >> If the utterance "I shouted some words" could be understood as "I
                  >> turned some words into a shout", then it would be related
                  >> conceptually to the sentence "The witch turned a flower into a
                  >> dishwasher". Obviously then, speech acts actually have two objects:
                  >> the target of speech before the conversion and, secondly, the
                  >> target of speech after the conversion into sound. Not _that_
                  >> strange actually. Think of a tool that technology has given modern
                  >> people: Text-to-speech software which bears this conversion
                  >> process right as its name! ;-)))
                  >>
                  >> Anyway, the notion of "speech magic" makes me grin considerably.
                  >> Something for a not-very-usual conlang, I guess... :D
                  >>
                  >> Cheers and a wonderful day plus weekend,
                  >> Harald
                  >> :-)))))

                  I KM were more flexible perhaps you could say:

                  mshÿhbò lúnty gèremlëmpì
                  Trans-thunder words(-Pat) spoke (I-Ag)
                  'I thundered some words.'

                  But you can't, since "words" still can't be used as a Patient, since they
                  don't exist as such prior to the action. In fact, "words" and "thunder" are
                  created simultaneously and refer to the same thing. For this reason, you
                  couldn't even put both in the Translative case and conjoin them, since then
                  it would sound like they were two separate creations. So I would attach to
                  "words" what I call an appositive relational, for lack of a better term,
                  which indicates it and the following word are the same thing. (I don't like
                  to use the term case here because, unlike most other cases other that
                  genitive, it marks the relationship between two nouns, rather than a noun
                  and a verb.)

                  mshÿlúnto hbò gèremlëmp
                  Trans-words-App thunder spoke (I-Ag)
                  'I thundered some words.'

                  Same problem and solution for turning words into a shout. Text to speech
                  though, would work as a patient/translative sentence.

                  For your other example about painting, KM would have the object to which
                  paint is applied marked as the Locative, the image created as Translative,
                  the paint itself as the Patient, the painter as Agent, and the brush as
                  Instrumental. This is quite different than in English, where either of the
                  first two can be the direct object, and seem to be the patient. I classify
                  the paint as the Patient here because it is affected most of all - it is
                  actually moved around and blurred with other colors. The object painted upon
                  is not itself changed (aside from some possible seepage into it, depending
                  on material), merely coated. And the image itself, of course, only exists as
                  a result of the action, so it must be Translative.


                  --
                  Josh Roth

                  http://fuscian.freespaces.com/

                  "Farewell, farewell to my beloved language,
                  Once English, now a vile orangutanguage."
                  -Ogden Nash
                • tomhchappell
                  ... [snip] ... See, among other references, http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsFactiti veAsASemanticRole.htm which says, in part,
                  Message 8 of 8 , Nov 3, 2005
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                    --- In conlang@yahoogroups.com, JR <fuscian@O...> wrote:
                    [snip]
                    > I was not aware of the term factitive, and after googling it I'm
                    > still not entirely sure what it means. It seems to be primarily
                    > used to describe verbs, not nouns, that cause something to be
                    > changed.

                    See, among other references,

                    http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsFactiti
                    veAsASemanticRole.htm

                    which says, in part,

                    "Factitive is the semantic role of an referent that results from the
                    action or state identified by a verb."

                    In other words, if the "patient" actually _comes into existence_
                    because the agent "does" the verb, it is a "factitive patient", as
                    opposed to some other kind of "patient".
                    The usual way of saying this is, it is an "effected patient", not
                    merely an "affected patient".
                    According to Blake's "Case", many theorists distinguish "factitives"
                    from other patients; and many don't. Just as, many theorists
                    distinguish "themes" (objects located or moved) from other patients;
                    and many don't.

                    > In Kar Marinam I use the Translative case to mark any object that
                    > was "created" or changed significantly. I put quotes
                    > around "created" because most of the time when we talk about
                    > creation what's really happening is that one thing is changing into
                    > another, even if we don't think of it that way, and this is why I
                    > use the same case for both.

                    The "changed significantly" part, and the "one thing changing into
                    another" part, are what I meant by "translative case".

                    > So in Kar Marinam, a quote itself is left unmarked, but if a
                    > regular noun is used, such as "words," it will be in the
                    > translative case, because words do not hover around waiting to be
                    > acted upon, but are brought about through the act of speaking.

                    It sounds like Kar Marinam uses one and the same case both for
                    translative and for effected patients (factitives). It is common for
                    natural languages to combine into one morphological role in their
                    morphology two or more semantic roles that linguists have been able
                    to distinguish in some other language or languages. Not that I'd be
                    any kind of expert, but putting these two together seems natural to
                    me.

                    > The thing that is converted into speech is, I suppose, under
                    > ordinary circumstances, primarily the air, as its molecules bounce
                    > around, and perhaps the tiny vibrating bones and fluid in the
                    > listener's ear, and really also all the brain cells that interpret
                    > those vibrations, and the muscles in the mouth and throat of the
                    > speaker, and the mental states of both the speaker and listener.
                    > They all combine to produce what we call words. These *could* be
                    > marked as the Patient in KM, though I don't think anyone would feel
                    > the need to mention them at all, just as they don't in English.
                    > Perhaps in poetry.

                    The above paragraph seems like more work than necessary.
                    Kind of pretty, though.

                    > I'm not sure how one would convert thunder into speech. I'd think
                    > thundering air is vibrating too much already to be overwhelmed by
                    > anyone's mouth. It would be quite a feat!

                    Right. First, impress people by making thunder come out of your mouth
                    -- then, impress them even more by making that thunder comprehensible!

                    [snip]

                    > I KM were more flexible perhaps you could say:
                    >
                    > mshÿhbò lúnty gèremlëmpì
                    > Trans-thunder words(-Pat) spoke (I-Ag)
                    > 'I thundered some words.'
                    >
                    > But you can't, since "words" still can't be used as a Patient,
                    > since they don't exist as such prior to the action.

                    Semantically the words are the effected patient.

                    > In fact, "words" and "thunder" are created simultaneously and refer
                    > to the same thing.

                    Yes, that's right. Semantically they refer to the same thing and are
                    created at the same time by the same act.
                    But, if they are both nouns, you might use one as a noun to describe
                    the other.
                    It would be natural to have one of them in whatever case effected
                    patients get put in -- Accusative or Factitive or Objective or
                    Absolutive or whatever.
                    Say, for instance,
                    "(thunder reference omitted for the moment)
                    words(-Pat)
                    (creating-type verb yet to be chosen)
                    I-(Ag)"
                    Now, suppose K.M. had an Essive case. The difference between Essive
                    and Translative is the difference between Being and Becoming. If
                    K.M. had both cases, we could talk about these words Being Thunder,
                    or Becoming Thunder, by choosing the case of Thunder.
                    Usually, "thunder(-Ess)" will be glossed "as thunder".

                    So, you could get
                    "thunder(-Ess) words(-Pat) spoke I-(Ag)".

                    > For this reason, you couldn't even put both in the Translative case
                    > and conjoin them, since then it would sound like they were two
                    > separate creations.
                    > So I would attach to "words" what I call an appositive relational,
                    > for lack of a better term, which indicates it and the following
                    > word are the same thing.

                    This sounds a lot like the "Essive Case".

                    > (I don't like to use the term case here because, unlike most other
                    > cases other that genitive, it marks the relationship between two
                    > nouns, rather than a noun and a verb.)

                    According to Blake, cases are either adnominal or adverbal.
                    An adnominal case marks the relationship its noun has to another noun;
                    an adverbal case marks the relationship its noun has to a verb.
                    There are other oppositions, too.
                    For instance,
                    Grammatical, or syntactic, cases, are about grammatical relations;
                    semantic, or concrete, cases, are about roles.

                    > mshÿlúnto hbò gèremlëmp
                    > Trans-words-App thunder spoke (I-Ag)
                    > 'I thundered some words.'
                    >
                    > Same problem and solution for turning words into a shout. Text to
                    > speech though, would work as a patient/translative sentence.
                    >
                    > For your other example about painting, KM would have the object to
                    > which paint is applied marked as the Locative, the image created as
                    > Translative, the paint itself as the Patient, the painter as Agent,
                    > and the brush as Instrumental. This is quite different than in
                    > English, where either of the first two can be the direct object,
                    > and seem to be the patient. I classify the paint as the Patient
                    > here because it is affected most of all - it is actually moved
                    > around and blurred with other colors. The object painted upon is
                    > not itself changed (aside from some possible seepage into it,
                    > depending on material), merely coated. And the image itself, of
                    > course, only exists as a result of the action, so it must be
                    > Translative.

                    This example shows all three kinds of Patient that Blake's "Case"
                    says some linguists would like to separate.
                    The paint is "theme" -- it gets moved around.
                    The image is "effected patient" or "factitive" -- it is actually
                    created by the action.
                    The board or canvas is "affected patient" -- it does not get located
                    nor moved, nor created, but it does get affected otherwise.

                    -----

                    Thanks, Josh.

                    Tom H.C. in MI
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