Treebeard's Stumper Answer
Internet addresses like "DunnSchool.org" must follow certain rules. Letters, digits, and dashes are allowed in the domain name before the dot, but no spaces or other punctuation. Upper and lower case doesn't matter, so many sites like Dunn's use capital letters to separate words. So what about Justice.com (about law) and JustIce.com (nothing but ice). They must lead to the same Internet site since they are the same letters. The stumper is to find other interesting examples of character strings that can be broken up in different ways to say very different things. It's hard!
"Redivider" is a palindrome that reads the same forwards and backwards. This stumper is a different kind of word-play that redivides characters to say different things. "Justice" is an example of what Richard Lederer calls a charade word that can be divided into smaller parts that are themselves words. (In the game of charades, we act out the big words by dividing them into smaller words.) Joni Mitchell uses the charade word "justice" in a serious way in her song "Sex Kills" about the politics of STDs:
I pulled up behind a Cadillac
We were waiting for the light
And I took a look at his license plate
It said "Just Ice"
Is justice just ice?
Governed by greed and lust?
Just the strong doing what they can
And the weak suffering what they must?
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills, sex kills
Charade words are fun, and not too hard to find. I consider them interesting when the redivided words are related, opposite, funny, or naughty. At least they should make sense, and all letters must be used.
The real challenge is to find character strings that can be redivided across words. For example, artist oil and art is toil can both be carved from the character string "artistoil". Whole sentences might be possible, but thinking of web domain names is a good way to widen the field to meaningful phrases and fragments. You can check Internet names right here. Network Solutions and Domain-It! have more options and sell available names. I believe ICANN and InterNIC are ultimately in charge of domain names.
The real stumper is: why is this stumper so hard?
GunSkill.com and GunsKill.com sound like very different Web sites, but they use exactly the same letters! I also found this set:Homer unclear, out in every game. Homer uncle a routine, very game. Homer uncle a rout in every game. Home run clear out in every game.I think the real stumper is why it's so difficult to find phrases like these that can be redivided. Old Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were all originally written without spaces to separate words, so it's part of our language that there aren't many ambiguousruntogetherwords!
It's easy to find charade words like "beanstalk" = "beans talk," but it's surprisingly difficult to find strings of characters that can be redivided between the words into meaningful sentences or fragments. I think there's a deep reason for this, but first here's what I've found so far. This is also available as a text file that I will probably update more often than this Web page. I do see this as an on-going stumper!
Here are some redivider Web sites. The underscore_character is not allowed in real domain names, but it makes it easier to read. I haven't tried most of these to see if they are real links.
Armour_Ranch.com Arm_Our_Ranch.com (I pass Armour Ranch Road on my way to school) Art_I_Choke.com Artichoke.com Art_Is_Toil.com Artist_Oil.com Atone.com At_One.com Barflies.com Barf_Lies.com Be_There.com Bet_Here.com Bewilder.com Be_Wilder.com Car_Skill.com Cars_Kill.com Car_Smart.com Cars_Mart.com Gun_Skill.com Guns_Kill.com Gun_Smart.com Guns_Mart.com Justice.com Just_Ice.com Mans_Laughter.com Manslaughter.com News_Mart.com New_Smart.com Pets_Mart.com Pet_Smart.com (PETsMART is a real business and web site) Sun_Glow_Pro_Ducts.com Sung_Low_Products.com Sin_Glow.com Sing_Low.com Together.com To_Get_Her.com
Here are some redivided sentences and fragments that I made or found on the Web:
Homer unclear, out in every game.
Homer uncle a routine, very game.
Homer uncle a rout in every game.
Home run clear out in every game.
Nowhere am I able to get her.
Now here, amiable together.
Nowhere is water.
Now here is water.
Martinis are also recreation.
Martin is a real sore creation.
Therapists are also recreation.
The rapist, a real sore creation.
In action, the real ways to get her.
Inaction, there always together.
Toreador, you read evil.
To read, or you're a devil.
A car, a van...
The noodle-soft rain swept,
Then oodles of trains wept.
Richard Lederer, Word Circus:
Ha! Thou tragedy ingrate, dwell on, superb old stag in gloom.
Hath outrage, dying, rated well? on super-bold staging loom!
Flamingo: pale, scenting a latent shark.
Flaming, opalescent in gala tents - hark!
Arlet Ottens, The rec.puzzles Archive:
Issues topping our mail: manslaughter.
Is Sue stopping our mailman's laughter?
The real ways I saw it.
There always is a wit.
You read evil tomes, Tim, at Ed's issue.
"You're a devil, Tom!" estimated sis Sue.
Bob Jacobson, Recreational Linguistics:
May, an artist, oils her oars.
"Mayan art is toil," she roars.
In can, artist oils her ants.
"Incan art is toil," she rants.
Here are some useful words and fragments for finding your own redivider sentences. The problem is that these words and phrases break on word boundries, so they really don't help finding the more interesting phrases that break between words. I'm sure this list could be much longer, but these are interesting.
across a cross adage ad age alienation a lie nation amiable am I able amiable together am I able to get her amok am ok anatomy an A to my are also on a real soon armour ranch arm our ranch artichoke art I choke art is toil artist oil ask a a ska atone at one atrophy a trophy attendance at ten dance averse a verse avoid a void barflies barf lies barrage bar rage beat be at beanstalk beans talk bewilder be wilder blot to offer blotto offer brokerage broke rage button butt on but ton capacity cap a city caravan car, a van car smart cars mart car skill cars kill conspiracy con's piracy daredevil dared evil detergent deter gent diplomatically diplomatic ally discovery disco very earshot ears hot generation gene ration goodyear goody ear gunshot gun's hot gun smart guns mart gun skill guns kill heat he at hebrew he brew heisman trophy he is man trophy history hi story identity ID entity initiate in it I ate irate I rate inaction in action is a wit I saw it islam I slam is lam island is land issues topping is sue stopping justice just ice mail manslaughter mailman's laughter manslaughter man's laughter martinis martin is meat me at mendacity mend a city mendicant mend? I can't molesting mole sting mustache must ache new zealand new zeal and notable not able no table novice no vice no where now here no where is water now here is water oils her oars oil she roars office off ice oftentimes of ten times onus on us overtax overt ax passage pass age penis pen is pets mart pet smart pleasure plea sure products pro ducts punished pun I shed reinforce rein force seashell sea's hell significant sign if I can't sin glow sing low soap opera so a pop era son glad song lad sunglasses sung lasses sun glow sung low theirs the IRS therapist the rapist the real ways there always together to get her toreador to read or you read evil you're a devil you're all one you real lone warship war's hip weeknights wee knights with intent within tent
Graybear also sent this poem in two versions. The words are the same, only the punctuation has changed:That bright red rose - I see its thorn.
I disregard the scent it gives off - thatís nothing!
I hate the scratches I got before;
I fuss about the pain, too. Much I think of the beauty!
That bright red rose I see; its thorn I disregard.
The scent it gives off, thatís nothing I hate.
The scratches I got; before I fuss about the pain too much,
I think of the beauty.
There are also a few spoken "redivider words" that you have to say out loud to appreciate: "Iced ink" - "I stink"; and "How to recognize speech" - "How to wreck a nice beach". I'll save this for a future stumper!
Redivider words is an enticing stumper that I haven't found much discussed in my books or on the Web. I don't even have a good name for these "redivider" fragments and sentences.
- I think Richard Lederer coined the phrase charade words in his fun book Word Circus (1998), but it's not mentioned on his Verbivore website
- Compound words like WebAddresses that include uppercase letters to separate words are also known as inner-capped or inter-capped words. This is also known as BiCapitalization and the words are known as InterCaps. This is a common form of corporate logo, so they are also called logograms, though that also has another meaning. ThE FriVolOuS RaNdOm CapiTaLiZaTioN you sometimes find on the Web is known as StudlyCaps.
- Words within another unrelated word, such as "ass" in "assassination," are sometimes called "kangaroo words." The interior word is the baby or "joey" within the pouch. Crossword puzzle editor Mel Rosen believes this phrase was coined by Dmitri Borgmann in Language on Vacation (out of print). (See the CRUCIVERB-L mailing list digest, March 7, 2002)
I think there's a deep reason why this stumper so hard. Speech came before writing, but there are no "spaces" or silences between most spoken words. That's why foreign languages always sound so fast and run-together, like barbarbar-barbarian talk. We hear different words in speech, but it took a long time to find a way to show it in writing with the combination of spelling and spaces and punctuation that we now take for granted. It's hard to find redivider words because written language is made to be unambiguous, even without spaces.
Here's a brief and over-simplified history of writing. I know it's a more complicated story! Aristotle wrote a fine statement about written and spoken language in On Interpretation (1.1). I'll use it as my sample text:Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, and written words are the symbols of spoken words. Just as all men have not the same writing, so all men have not the same speech sounds, but the mental experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the same for all, as also are those things of which our experiences are the images.
The first human writing was surely pictorial, but by 1700 BCE, Syrian Ugarits, Canaanites, and Phoenicians developed the first abstract alphabet to represent spoken language - an alphabet consisting entirely of upper-case consonants with no spaces or punctuation between words. In English it would look something like this:
This is good enough for business receipts so it worked for the Phoenician traders who carried their system around the Mediterranean. It also works as a written reminder if you already know the text, so it was also used by Semitic priests who added a few more consonant characters.
After 1000 BCE, the Greeks modified a few existing Hebrew characters to represent vowels. They also settled on writing from left-to-right instead of right-to-left like Hebrew or Boustrophedon systems that alternate this way and that like a farmer plowing his field. The Hebrew aleph, beth, gemel, dalth become the Greek alpha, beta, gamma, delta. Our English text now looks like this:
By 200 BCE the Greeks added some puctuation marks, mainly a "point" to indicate pauses, so it could function either as a comma or period. Etruscans borrowed the Greek alphabet and it became the basis for the familiar Roman alphabet. Different writing styles developed during the early Christian era including majuscule (capitals), minuscule (lower-case), and uncial (more modern small letters). By the time of the Emperor Charlemagne (742 - 814), our text might look something like this:
The text is still written as scriptura continua, with no spaces between the words, but the capitals and punctuatuion give hints about what it means. Try reading this block of letters silently, and then try reading it out loud. I find it almost natural to read out loud, but much more difficult to read to myself silently without sounding out the syllables. (I admit, I read very slowly, and I often sub-vocalize even when I read silently.)
There's a much-cited passage in St. Augustine's Confessions (Book 6, Chapter 3.3, about 400 A.D.) about reading. Augustine finds it remarkable that Ambrose could read silently:Now, as he read, his eyes glanced over the pages and his heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were silent. Often when we came to his room... we would see him thus reading to himself. After we had sat for a long time in silence -- for who would dare interrupt one so intent? -- we would then depart, realizing that he was unwilling to be distracted in the little time he could gain for the recruiting of his mind, free from the clamor of other men's business... And even a truer reason for his reading to himself might have been the care for preserving his voice, which was very easily weakened. Whatever his motive was in so doing, it was doubtless, in such a man, a good one.Augustine also writes about the need for punctuation or pointing to remove ambiguity in his book On Christian Doctrine (Book 3, Chapter 2.2). (Remember that the Greeks added "points" as simple punctuation.) Augustine discusses this example from the beginning of St. John's Gospel in the Vulgate (but not in original Greek or Hebrew).INPRINCIPIOERATVERBVMETVERBVMERATAPVDDEVM ETDEVSERATVERBVMHOCERATINPRINCIPIOAPVDDEVMIt seems this phrase also contains a redivider word, and so does the original Greek. Augustine explains:3. Now look at some examples. The heretical pointing, "In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat," so as to make the next sentence run, "Verbum hoc erat in principio apud Deum ," arises out of unwillingness to confess that the Word was God. But this must be rejected by the rule of faith, which, in reference to the equality of the Trinity, directs us to say: "et Deus erat verbum;" and then to add: "hoc erat in principio apud Deum."
As I follow it, the two versions are:[wrong:]
"In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat. Verbum hoc erat in principio apud Deum."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was. This Word was with God in the beginning."[right:]
"In principio erat verbum, et verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was with God in the beginning."
I don't quite understand the theology, but I do appreciate the need for "pointers" to preserve meaning.
The next step in this evolution of writing occured in the late middle ages when Monastic Irish scribes first started adding spaces between words in their scriptural manuscripts. It's fascinating that this innovation that makes silent reading possible happened in Ireland. Latin was a second language for everyone by this time so maybe they needed the extra help of the spaces to parse Latin texts into words. Paul Saenger wrote an entire book on Space Between Words, The Origins of Silent Reading (Stanford, 1997). He comments that "people at the frontiers have always been more open to linguistic innovation and combining things in new ways." By the twelfth century, the practice was universal in Europe. It was a revolutionary change that helped bring literacy and independent thinking to the masses."The ancient world did not possess the desire, characteristic of the modern age, to make reading easier and swifter. Those who read... were not interested in the swift intrusive consultation of books... The notion that the greater portion of the population should be autonomous and self-motivated readers was entirely foreign to the elitist literate mentality of the ancient world."Standards for spelling and punctuation didn't appear until after the printing press. I still have trouble with commas and hyphens and words like "on to" and "onto"!
All these innovations make it possible for all readers to be able to read silently without ambiguity. We take formatted text like this for granted:
Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience,
and written words are the symbols of spoken words.
Just as all men have not the same writing, so all
men have not the same speech sounds, but the mental
experiences, which these directly symbolize, are the
same for all, as also are those things of which our
experiences are the images.
By now it's hard to understand that scriptura continua was once the norm. In fact, reading and writing have only been widespread for a few centuries. I believe it's a relic of this history that it's so hard to find redivider words for my stumper. It's because written language is designed to be unambiguous, even without spaces. I'm sure the evolution of writing is not yet finished! Btw cn u rd ths 2? cu l8tr rotfl ;=)
I love how a simple stumper can expand into the unknown. When you cast your net you don't know what fish you'll catch! Here are some links for your own research:
- I found a few examples of "redivider words" at Arlet Ottens' rec.puzzles archive and Bob Jacobson's Recreational Linguistics. Richard Lederer discusses charade words in his fun books The Word Circus and The Circus of Words.
- I bought Paul Saenger's book Space Between Words, The Origins of Silent Reading (Stanford, 1997) from Amazon, but I haven't had time to read past the introduction. It's a scholarly work with 150+ pages of notes, but it's a fascinating story that I intend to read in full. It's another of those small things that change everything. I take it there is some controversy. I found a short piece on the Web by Paul Saenger on The History of Writing, and a television interview transcript. There are discussions here and here. It's so interesting that children learning to read and write also have trouble with spaces between words and run-on sentences. "Phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny", and maybe "philology recapitulates ontology". Children still struggle to recreate the history of writing on their own, with occasional misfires.
- I learned (and borrowed) from the concise Live Ink: A Brief History of Reading site. There are short articles about the history of writing here, here, and here. I'm sure there's much more!
- I was a surfer kid in the 60s, and we were proud of our "surfer talk" that outsiders like our parents couldn't understand. Internet IRC and IM Chat users are evolving their own written language that is barely recognizable to the unconnected. Terrell Neuage is sharing his "thesis in progress" on the Discourse Analysis of Chatroom Talk, including an analysis of talk in Britney Spears chat rooms. Personally, I don't like telephones much. I don't own a cell phone. I use a voice mail service to receive my phone messages, and I prefer email. I think it's rude to interrupt, and I like to think before I respond. I hear that Trillian is the recommended IRC/IM/Chat client program, but I won't cu thr.
- It's hard to find whole sentences and phrases that can be redivided, but it's easy to find short words embedded inside of longer words and names. Sometimes they are naughty. This creates a problem for Web content filters like Net Nanny that some parents depend on to keep their kids "safe" while browsing. There are funny examples of misfires (and links) at the Digital Freedom Network: Foil the Filters site. I'm sure the only way to keep our kids "safe" is to talk with them honestly and develop values and judgement. Software can't do that, nor should it.
- My scanner has a OCR program that works well to grab text from an image file. Grabbing words from speech is much harder. United Research Labs' Wave To Text is free to download a time-limited demo, and it only costs $16 to register. It takes weeks to train. I believe it can do dictation after you've trained it for your voice. This sounds like a fun toy. Spectrogram, Sound Frequency Analyzer, and VoceVista have free downloads that can do realtime audio spectrum analysis, but recognizing words is a step beyond.
- There are many sites on the Web with language stumpers. Try the Word Play index, Richard Lederer's books and Verbivore website, and Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics.
- I have more challenging language stumpers at The Universal Library of Stumpers (23 March 2001), Double Meaning (31 March 2000), Silent Alphabet (2 April 1999), and The ABCs of Science (9 October 1998). I love the complexity of our language because it promotes complex thinking.
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