Abbreviation at the sentence level

I think I saw something like this in some of Swem’s notes, but can’t find it again right now. Anyway, what about this?
Q: long two of married? (How long have the two of you been married?)
A: twenty (Twenty years.)
Q: would say been happily? (Would you say you have been happily married?)
A: yes would that (Yes, I would say that.)
Q: line of in? (What line of work are you in?)
A: own grocery (I own a grocery store)
Q: long been line of? (How long have you been in that line of work?)
A: twenty (Twenty years.)
Q: long mr jones for? (How long has Mr. Jones worked for you?)
A: 18 (Eighteen years.)
Q: found reliable person? (Have you found him to be a reliable person?)
A: yes

(by ukulele144 for everyone)

8 comments Add yours
  1. Those lines are way too short even with a tape backup. If you're asked
    to read back, and you will be asked, how are you going to do that unless
    you have a steel trap memory that can recall questions or answers late
    in the afternoon and this testimony was early in the morning?

    The only time I have been able to use very short questions like this is
    in a change of plea by a defendant. The rights explained to the
    defendant are the same and I have over the years memorized exactly what
    my judge says every time. There are some attorneys who begin their
    examination of a witness exactly the same. You may be able to shorten
    it then. Otherwise, it's too "dangerous" to do that.


  2. Thanks, V-Lindsay. I had a feeling that was the case.   I think the definition of "verbatim" may have changed over the years, too. With recording equipment available, and many courts now using "court recorders" or videographers, it seems to me that the very short paraphrase which might once have been acceptable is no longer acceptable.   sidhe

  3. I don't think many sentences would work in this way, but the ones I made up were deliberately extreme as a thought experiment.  Actually, I can't imagine any other way these sentences could be filled in except almost exactly as I did fill them in. Take this variation: "…long …you…worked….?" Surely there's nothing else any normal speaker could have meant but "How long have you worked there?"  If "at that company" or "for them" were meant, the stenographer would have put in another word or two to take care of that. A lot of my attention has been , within general linguistics, to the patterns of utterance that are part of a Gestalt theory of language – i.e. that we know and think general patterns within which we add, remove, or change elements, this rather than the misguided idea that we put our discourse together one word at a time. In fact, whatever else is said, a stenographer surely does better to hear and write the whole sentence rather trying to hang on every word. Simultaneous interpreters of foreign languages have to translate the last sentence while they are listening to the next one or two.  This is perhaps why Swem spoke of often being as much as 20 words behind the speaker.

  4. Uke–   I  recall seeing some highly abbreviated notes. If I find them I will let you know where they are.   It seems to me that you could develop some formula phrases–I understand that that's the idea–at least in the Anniversary Books, that you develop your own personal abbreviations. The phrasing segments of Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary are intended to be examples and have several examples of phrases that leave out certain words.   For example, with the word " been" it wouldn't really be necessary to write 'has' or 'have' because that will be obvious from the context.   But I have also read that it's more important to know your system than to have fantastic abbreviations that you can't put to use instantaneously.   E48    

  5. Thanx, E48 – Swem spoke of "that most important of all speed expedients – phrasing," and also said, "Any sequence of small outlines that must be written separately, without the saving relief of phrasing, becomes both a mental and a manual hazard requiring the highest possible skill to overcome."   Uke

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