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Looking for a word

Posted By: Peter Jones

Looking for a word - 07/10/09 06:57 PM

There's a single word that describes an apparent question that actually has an embedded statement. Heavily used by lawyers, and in fact their main trick for tripping people up, combined with permitting only "yes" or "no" answers. An example - "have you stopped beating your wife?".

Can you think what this word is, because I can't and I can't even think how to go about looking it up?
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:11 PM

I think you are referring to a straw man argument...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
Posted By: iluvbelize

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:15 PM

Leading questions are used when desiring a 'yes' or 'no' answer, which is, or should be, already known by the examiner.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:15 PM

Close, but not what I'm looking for. Not quite the same meaning, and in any case I'm looking for a single word. Whether it's a noun or an adjective I can't remember, but I believe it's the latter.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:20 PM

As ILuvBelize suggested, Leading is probably it.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:25 PM

No, a leading question is one that presupposes the desired answer, or one that actually supplies the answer in the question. What I am looking for (see my example) is not that - it's more a sort of paradox. What can you answer to "have you stopped beating your wife" without incriminating yourself?
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:26 PM

The word you're looking for might be embedded somewhere in this article. I didn't find it right off the bat.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/l1127227t5240w66/
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:30 PM

Then I can't help you. Where is Leah-ann when you need her?
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:32 PM

Right, a LEADING question is "You were beating your wife, weren't you?" It assumes the answer.

On the other hand, a LOADED question is "When did you stop beating your wife?" It really has no proper answer, assuming that you have never beat your wife, except to deny the whole question.

There may be another name for it, but loaded question is what it's usually called.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:37 PM

Again close but not it.

Belizeandme - I had a look at that article but I'm only allowed to view the first page and my word isn't there. I'm not going to spend US$34 to download the whole article on the offchance it might contain the word I want!
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:39 PM

ambiguous?
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:42 PM

Lots of good words close to the right one, but NOT the right one. This isn't a trick question - there is a word out there that serves this purpose exactly and I have known it, but now it completely escapes me.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:42 PM

That usually infallible source, Wikipedia, says of loaded questions:

Loaded question, also known as complex question, presupposition, "trick question", or plurium interrogationum (Latin, "of many questions"), is an informal fallacy or logical fallacy. It is committed when someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner's agenda. An example of this is the question "Are you still beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.

The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious.

This fallacy is often confused with begging the question, which offers a premise no more plausible than, and often just a restatement of, the conclusion.

--Lan Sluder

P.S. I still call it, simply, a loaded question.
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:43 PM

Loaded question:

Logical fallacy
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:43 PM

demagoguery?
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:48 PM

Lan, that's the best yet, and I'm wondering if there's any point in looking further. "Loaded" does the job pretty well, and there's no point in using a word if people don't understand what you mean by it. But I'm sure there is another one, somewhere just out of reach.....
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:48 PM

plurium?
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:51 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

Loaded question, also known as complex question, presupposition, "trick question", or plurium interrogationum (Latin, "of many questions"), is an informal fallacy or logical fallacy.[1] It is committed when someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner's agenda.[1] An example of this is the question "Are you still beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past. Thus, these facts are presupposed by the question, and in this case an entrapment, because it narrows the respondent to a single answer, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.[1]

The fallacy relies upon context for its effect: the fact that a question presupposes something does not in itself make the question fallacious. Only when some of these presuppositions are not necessarily agreed to by the person who is asked the question does the argument containing them become fallacious.[1]

This fallacy is often confused with begging the question,[2] which offers a premise no more plausible than, and often just a restatement of, the conclusion.[3]

Loaded questions
Suggestive question
Buttering-up
Legitimately complex question
Illegitimately complex question
Implied Dilemma
Posted By: elbert

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:57 PM

An American judge did that to me once. The attorney said i was a 'hostel witness' so the judge directed me to answer either 'Yes' or 'No', i posed to the judge that it might be misleading and mentioned the 'Do you still beat your wife' example. The judge wasn't amused and i think he had even heard that before :-).
I lost a large sum of money and learned a good lesson in court precedings.
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 07:58 PM

Is there an echo in here?

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Belizeandme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 08:05 PM

yep. didn't refresh and see your response before i posted mine. ;-)
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 08:07 PM

I had the opposite experience in court once. I declined to answer a leading question, let's adopt that term, and the opposing counsel asked the judge to direct me to answer "yes" or "no" as I had been ordered. I addressed the judge directly and said that I could not answer so to such a question, and the judge directed me to answer in my own words. When later the opposing counsel (and I mean Counsel, not barrister - the person was a QC) asked another loaded question with the same stipulation that I answer "yes" or "no" I hesitated and looked at the judge, who immediately told me to answer in my own words and directed the QC to stop phrasing questions like that.

I have never been called a "hostile witness" so I don't know how I'd react, but my general stance in court would always be to use unambiguous language and resist an attempt to force me to do otherwise. "In extremis" I would refuse to answer at all. My brother did this once when he was an Expert Witness in a major criminal trial, and had been ordered by the judge to answer an improper question. The end result (some other things got in the way as well) was that a mis-trial was called, and we believe the judge was reprimanded (though of course we're never told such things).
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 08:08 PM

Originally Posted by Lan Sluder/Belize First
Is there an echo in here?

--Lan Sluder


No - shows that great minds think alike!
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 11:02 PM

Peter, It just came to me that the word you may be looking for is "sophistry" or "sophist."

A sophist, originally someone who was very learned, has come to mean a person who just uses clever language or rhetoric, and sophistry is specious arguments or questions that are meant to sound learned but in fact are deceiving.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: iluvbelize

Re: Looking for a word - 07/10/09 11:09 PM

Good one Lan. I guess you have witnessed a few 'hostels' in your travels. LOL
Posted By: MisterB266

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 12:45 AM

Look up "complex question" and "pre-suppositional question". The grammatical name may depend on your source.

A complex question is a fallacy in which the answer to a given question presupposes a prior answer to a prior question.

A pre-suppositional question implies more information than the person being questioned is willing to affirm.
Posted By: kerry

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 08:40 AM

a "compound question"?
Posted By: kerry

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 08:56 AM

seems to be the answer....not an attorney but,what i had read about this, seems to be..i don't think the ? had to do with what one is willing to affirm, but the fact that the question eludes to guilt whether u answer yes or no....you have stopped or you are still doing it! just a thought!
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 04:56 PM

I think I've got it!!! It's formally known as a "bullshit" question, right?
Posted By: Danny2

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 04:57 PM


Good one.
Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 05:34 PM

Originally Posted by Belizeandme
ambiguous?


Belizeandme is right.

youre talking syntactical ambiguities...
specifically referring to conversational postulates

Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 05:59 PM



before the arguments starts...allow me to had axiom as they are often synonymous postulates / axiom

peter it would serve you well to research NLP (for your answer-if you still feel unresolve).
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 06:00 PM

Thanks for all your help. The closest adjective I've seen yet, and certainly the simplest, is "loaded", though that's still not as specific as I was hoping for. Sophistry is very close in general meaning, but I can't work out what the related adjective is.
Posted By: Hon

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 06:16 PM

How about 'rhetorical question'?
Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 06:29 PM

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/postulate
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 06:34 PM

No Hon. It's a question that regardless which of the (restricted) answers you give you incriminate yourself according to a statement of purported fact embedded in the original "question".
Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 11:38 PM

ok than hows this...

"double bind" and I have a PhD to back that answer up...but you said one word.

Would you know the word if you found IT!
Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/11/09 11:41 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind

Posted By: SimonB

Re: Looking for a word - 07/12/09 12:00 AM

Spurious
Posted By: Artorious

Re: Looking for a word - 07/12/09 12:30 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bind

Posted By: SimonB

Re: Looking for a word - 07/12/09 12:41 AM

Deja Vu
Posted By: Danny2

Re: Looking for a word - 07/12/09 11:01 PM


In linguistics, hypercorrection occurs when a real or imagined grammatical or phonetical rule is applied in a mistaken or non-standard context, so that a desire to be "correct" leads to an incorrect result. Particular forms of it are hyperurbanism (defined by Kingsley Amis as an "indulged desire to be posher than posh") and hyperforeignism, but it can occur in the attempt to adapt to any mode of speech.

[edit] Forms

Hypercorrection may take different forms, such as:

* usage that many informed users of a language consider incorrect, but that the speaker or writer uses through misunderstanding of prescriptive rules, often combined with a desire to seem formal or educated;[1]
* (also called overcompensation): the effect that results when a student of a new language has learned that certain phones of his or her original language must usually be replaced by another in the studied language, but has not learned when not to replace them (or has learned, but must consciously remind himself or herself of the exceptions and hence sometimes forgets not to replace).[2]

[edit] In English

Unlike some other languages, such as Italian (Accademia della Crusca), Icelandic (Icelandic Language Institute) or Spanish (Real Academia Española), English has no authoritative body governing correct usage. Nonetheless, within groups of users of English, certain usages are considered unduly elaborate adherence to "formal" rules instead of popular, widespread usage.

[edit] Preposition at the end of a clause

Winston Churchill is said to have replied to a hypercorrective memo with the phrase "This is the kind of tedious nonsense up with which I will not put!" (or a similar construction).[3] That is an example of hypercorrection used as parody: Churchill went beyond creating a grammatically correct sentence, to mock the elaborate refusal to end a clause in a preposition (or insistence on placing the preposition before the relative pronoun); he treated the adverbial particles up and with as prepositions. They are actually part of the phrasal verb put up with, and their placement before put is extremely unusual.

[edit] Personal pronouns

Jack Lynch, assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, describes another example of hypercorrection:

We're taught as children —and beginning English learners are told— "You don't say, 'Me and you went to the movies'; it should be 'you and I.'" And a lot of people, therefore, internalize the rule that "you and I" is somehow more proper, and they end up using it in places where they shouldn't —such as "He gave it to you and I," when it should be "He gave it to you and me."[4]

The rule is that the pronoun that would stand in isolation is the one to use: if "I went to the movies", then "You and I went to the movies"; if "He gave it to me", then "He gave it to you and me".

[edit] Hyperforeignism

A hyperforeignism is a special type of hypercorrection resulting from an unsuccessful attempt to apply the reading rules of a foreign language to a loan word (for example, the application of the reading rules of one language to a word borrowed from another), or occasionally to a native English word believed to be a loan word. The result may be "absurd," reflecting "neither the reading rules of English nor those of the language from which the word in question comes."[5]

[
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 12:02 AM

Geezeeeeee
Posted By: azbob

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 12:13 AM

Double that Ernie!!!!!
Geezeeeeee Geezeeeeee
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 12:16 AM

How grandiloquent.
Posted By: Moose In Belize

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 12:55 AM

And plagaristic? shocked
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 01:22 AM

And freekin NUTS !
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 01:28 AM

ahhh...a Texas philosopher.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 01:30 AM

I dont know any big words
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 01:41 AM

Perfect for Texas!
Posted By: Texican

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 02:40 AM

Tempted to copy and paste Dan2's post to another forum where the Brits object to Amurricans callin themselves Amurrican.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 02:59 AM

At least spell it right. It's murkin.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 02:59 AM

Danny - where is that from? Some parts of it seem a bit strange.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 01:45 PM

Google it Peter!

And you'll get: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercorrection

Posted By: Danny2

Re: Looking for a word - 07/13/09 03:25 PM


Simon is correct.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 03:40 PM

Inference
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 03:56 PM

I read the Wikipedia article on "hypercorrection". Some of it strikes me as "hyperpedanticism". And as with so much on the internet I'm left wondering whether it's an English article or an American one, as I was fairly well educated in the English language and I don't recognise parts of it. Not that I've forgotten it, but I've never seen it before. It does complicate things that Americans insist on calling their language "English", whereas it differs from English in many aspects and should better be called "American".

The article did touch on one of the usages that to me perpetually grates, and that is the "you and I" question. So many people now say things like "me and my wife" rather than "my wife and I". It started jokily, or at any rate I remember it starting like that in Britain years ago, but that was by people who knew it was wrong. What is worrying now is that many people adopt the usage in blissful ignorance as to its correctness or otherwise, as the teaching of grammar seems pretty well to have died out. Certainly in the UK and it seems also in the US. I suppose individual losses like this are pretty minor in the overall scheme of things, but cumulatively they result in a great dunning down of the language. It used to be that there were far more words in daily usage in England than in the English language as spoken anywhere else in the world, and certainly far more than in any other language. That may still be true, but the difference is reducing fast.

Though interesting as it was, I'm not sure the article is relevant to the question at hand.
Posted By: Moose In Belize

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 08:24 PM

So as not to confuse you Peter, I speak another version of English called Canadian. No eh jokes please. I even hear Americans say eh. I agree with you about "you" and "I" and I corrected my children, as my father corrected me, and now they have it figured out. My current grammar complaint is the overuse of "myself" in place of "me", i.e. the officer was talking to myself about my careless driving. I honestly believe that people think it makes them sound intelligent and it's just the opposite.

As for your missing word, I haven't a clue. I would consider the question to be loaded, or perhaps provocative, but I know you are looking for something more. Good luck.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 08:53 PM

I think the word he is looking for is "inference". I often make a statement/question to a witness, where the answer is inferred within the question.
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 08:58 PM

Used in a sentence: Paris and Marseilles are both inference.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:02 PM

Black's Law Dictionary provides this definition of inference: "in the law of evidence, a truth or proposition drawn from another which is supposed or admitted to be true."
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:06 PM

boring!!! you sound like a lawyer!!
Posted By: shuffles

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:13 PM

damn lawyers
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:16 PM

Originally Posted by LaurieMar
I think the word he is looking for is "inference". I often make a statement/question to a witness, where the answer is inferred within the question.

You mean "implied". You may infer the answer, but it doesn't infer itself grin.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:18 PM

Originally Posted by KC Jayhawk
Used in a sentence: Paris and Marseilles are both inference.

???
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:19 PM

crazy Peter, I absolutely forbid you to ever post another question like this one. I don't come to the ACMB to have to think!!
Posted By: KC Jayhawk

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:20 PM

aw c'mon, Peter!! Inference . . . . in France
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:22 PM

I'm sorry KC, I haven't had enough alcohol yet today!!
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:27 PM

No, I meant what I said.
Posted By: Moose In Belize

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:31 PM

Originally Posted by shuffles
damn lawyers


grin grin grin
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:34 PM

Originally Posted by LaurieMar
No, I meant what I said.

You'll have to explain the logic of that some time.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 09:45 PM

Never mind I said anything. Its pretty clear to me. As you were.
Posted By: azbob

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 10:38 PM

Originally Posted by Peter Jones
I'm sorry KC, I haven't had enough alcohol yet today!!


Peter, when you do, go over and join "looking to speak to expats"! smile
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 10:42 PM

I've been watching it. It's entitled "looking to speak to friendly expats", though judging by some of the contributions I'm not so sure about the "friendly" bit. I'd certainly need several beers for that thread.
Posted By: Danny2

Re: Looking for a word - 07/15/09 10:46 PM


I haven't read it but it sounds like a someone is looking for the job under the bridge.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 05:15 AM

For people's edification I looked up the words "imply" and "infer" in the Little Oxford English Dictionary. Helpfully it has an addendum which reads as follows:-

"Don't confuse the words imply and infer. They can describe the same situation, but from different points of view. If you imply something, it means that you are suggesting something though not saying it directly. If you infer something from what has been said, you come to the conclusion that this is what the speaker really means, although they are not saying it directly."
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 08:06 PM

In your original post, you stated you were looking for a word heavily used by lawyers - that word is inference, not imply. And, please note that my definition of "inference" relates to evidentiary laws - a little bit different than what you are talking about.
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 08:15 PM

Give it up Laurie, you are talking to a stick.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 08:45 PM

Originally Posted by LaurieMar
In your original post, you stated you were looking for a word heavily used by lawyers - that word is inference, not imply. And, please note that my definition of "inference" relates to evidentiary laws - a little bit different than what you are talking about.

Sorry if I caused confusion. It was the question (or rather, the type of question) that is heavily used by lawyers, not the word that describes it. I have no idea whether the word itself is significantly used by lawyers or not.

And on the specific point that you raise, some words are used in a strict legal sense that is different from their common-parlance sense. I was after the common-parlance word, not the "legal" word.
Posted By: papashine

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 08:50 PM

Whats the prize for a correct answer? It must be good, judging from the amount of responses.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 09:00 PM

Right from the start I had a feeling there was a specific word that I just couldn't think of. No word that's been suggested so far has struck me as "that's the word!", so either we just haven't got to it yet or there never was one. The closest common word is "loaded". That's just a little more general than the strict sense I was looking for, but it'll do for most purposes. The most directly accurate word, I think, was "sophistry", but I haven't been able to come up with an adjective based on it.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 09:46 PM

Does this mean we can make up a word and enter it into the dictionary?

Posted By: Danny2

Re: Looking for a word - 07/16/09 11:27 PM


I'll bet it's a Latin word, the dead language.
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