Re: Who's he speaking to?
- From: Barbara Bailey <rabrabbjb@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 19:33:51 +0100 (CET)
In the first case Mr.Rabbit speaks to the
person he believes to be Mary Ann.
That person is Alice, so he speaks to Alice.
But from the point-of-view of the Rabbit, he is addressing Mary
preconception prevents him from recognizing that it is Alice whom he
is speaking to. He thinks he is speaking to Mary Ann. So from his
point of view, perhaps he is. An outside observer might say he is
In the second case he sees no-one. He names Mary Ann but she is
so he doesn't speak to her.
Wait, does that mean that if I'm in the kitchen, and my husband is in the
living room, and there's a wall between us, everytime I talk to him or he
talks to me, we're both not really talking to anybody?
Seriously, the answer depends on a semantic point: are you using "talking
to" to mean "adressing" as in "I was talking to the fourth grade class."
or do you mean "talking to" in the sense of "aiming his comments at" as
in "Am I talking to the air, here?"
By the first usage, the Rabbit is talking to Mary Ann in both cases.
Whether he is mistaken about who is standing in front of him (as in the
first case) or whether she is physically not present but is presumed to
be within earshot (as in the second case) is irrelevant. He's addressing
By the second usage, he's talking to Alice in the first case (he's
mistaken about who she is, but he's aiming his statement at her) and to
Mary Ann in the second case (she's not present, but she's the one he's
aiming his statement at.)
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