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pyzzazzyZyzzyva
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25 Apr 2010, 4:45 pm

I'm literal 110% of the time.

...But really,

I can relate to the office experiences where someone is not explicit enough or I forgot what they said. My mother used to ask whether I wanted scrambled eggs and I would say yes without being aware of it. Then, when she brought the eggs, I would ask her why she was giving me eggs.

There was another time when someone asked for the name of the recipe of the dish I made. The website listed it as "tofu pineapple recipe," so i said 'tofu pineapple recipe.'



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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25 Apr 2010, 5:45 pm

One thing I take literally, those signs on construction sites that read "Opening Soon" or "Coming Soon". Their idea of 'soon' is years later while mine is in a month or so, six months at the most. "Coming Soon" is definitely not to be taken literally.



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25 Apr 2010, 6:25 pm

I'm pretty literal as well.

Last weekend, my friend, who lives across the country, and I were watching a movie while conversing on Google Chat. We started at the same time and typed our comments to one another while watching individually. At some point, we became unsynchronized, and he asked, "Where are you?" I was a bit baffled, but replied, "In (name of my city)". He thought it was hilarious.



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07 May 2010, 4:19 am

For so long here on Wrong Planet I wondered why so many people on here are from Arizona (USA) ?

Look at the left - many usernames have "Phoenix" written underneath.

:P

yes, yes, I figured it out finally..... :roll:


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07 May 2010, 2:12 pm

earthmom wrote:
For so long here on Wrong Planet I wondered why so many people on here are from Arizona (USA) ?

Look at the left - many usernames have "Phoenix" written underneath.

:P

yes, yes, I figured it out finally..... :roll:



Was that a joke?

Phoenix is one of the posting ranks.



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07 May 2010, 2:23 pm

About 7 years ago I was at the dentist and I had a tooth that has a temporary cap on it because I'd chipped it. The dentist looked at it and said "This can come out at any time." Years later I figured out that he meant that it was time to replace it so he was saying he could take it out but I took it to mean that my tooth was going to fall out and since then I've been terrified my tooth will fall out.


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07 May 2010, 3:41 pm

I've been thinking about this issue today. As an English learner I came across many idioms. I take things literally sometimes but not idioms, I don't know when people are joking. When I read about having a green thumb for the first time, I didn't know what it could mean but didn't think I should take this literally. But when my husband told me recently that we could have black walls in our bathroom, I said it wasn't a good idea since I didn't know he wasn't serious then. Some people like dark walls... Anyway...
I wonder if NTs can guess what does for example a green thumb mean or do they have to learn about it from somebody? Is it something natural to know the meaning of idioms or we all learn it? Does anybody take idioms literally? Do you know that something is an idiom and do you understand it naturally?


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07 May 2010, 3:59 pm

Agnieszka wrote:
I've been thinking about this issue today. As an English learner I came across many idioms. I take things literally sometimes but not idioms, I don't know when people are joking. When I read about having a green thumb for the first time, I didn't know what it could mean but didn't think I should take this literally. But when my husband told me recently that we could have black walls in our bathroom, I said it wasn't a good idea since I didn't know he wasn't serious then. Some people like dark walls... Anyway...
I wonder if NTs can guess what does for example a green thumb mean or do they have to learn about it from somebody? Is it something natural to know the meaning of idioms or we all learn it? Does anybody take idioms literally? Do you know that something is an idiom and do you understand it naturally?


If it's an idiom, such as green thumb, I figure it out from context.

Oddly enough, "green thumb" is one of the very few things in this thread that is an example of something that shouldn't be taken literally. Most of the examples given are of things that should be taken literally but you have to correctly guess the referrent based on what is most likely. Out of a choice of many possible referrents, people just guessed the wrong one. For example, somebody gave the example of a "no standing" road sign. They do mean that literally. No standing is allowed at that spot. But they don't tell you what exactly is not permitted to stand there. You must guess. The correct guess of referrent is " vehicle". The incorrect guess of referrent is "person". But in any case they mean that the vehicle shouldn't stand there. Standing doesn't require legs.

I don't remember exactly when I learned the idiom green thumb, or any other English idioms (I'm a native speaker, so it was long ago). Something I enjoy is hearing translated idioms from other languages and seeing if I can figure them out from context. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes the context is so culture-specific that a native speaker not only has to explain it to me but also explain the context that gave rise to the idiom because it's not part of my (American) culture. I work with a lot of people from around the world who speak a variety of languages. One of the things we do for fun when things get slow at work is trade idioms, to see whose idioms would be the weirdest if taken literally.



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07 May 2010, 5:28 pm

earthmom wrote:
For so long here on Wrong Planet I wondered why so many people on here are from Arizona (USA) ?

Look at the left - many usernames have "Phoenix" written underneath.

:P

yes, yes, I figured it out finally..... :roll:


Oh god! Me too!! I figured it out once my rank started to change, and I realized that "Phoenix" was one of the ranks...


On topic: I don't take things too literally now that I'm older, but when I was younger I definitely did. When my mom told me, "wash the dishes once you're done eating" I would wash only my plate I'd just used, and she would yell at me because I was suppose to wash ALL of the dishes.
That's a bad example, but I remember we bought all of the Amelia Badelia books and would laugh about how she was like me lol.

These days I can still take things literally, but if I have time to think about it I can realize there's more meaning than the first thing I think of...
I notice my (also AS) boyfriend does this too haha. For example, the other day we were in the car and I was driving, and a woman was in the right turn lane as the light turned green, and put on her blinker to try and merge with the lane I was in, and I said, "What does she think she's doing?!" (of course I knew, but was trying to point out how silly it was) and my boyfriend replied, "She's trying to merge into our lane instead of just driving straight and merging further up, so she's holding up the traffic behind her." :lol:
(I suppose you'd have to be there to understand, as it's a hard to explain situation, but oh well.)

I've never taken figures of speech literally, but I do remember that I hated them when I was younger. I would always ask my mother why people said that instead of what they really meant. ("a frog in your throat" vs. "hoarse")


As for the green thumb thing above, this was one of the few idioms I took literally... I remember my mother told me that my grandmother had a green thumb, and I argued that no she doesn't, I'd have noticed.


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07 May 2010, 7:04 pm

I remember I used to go to this school for two years when I was little and then when I was six, I went to a new school. I remember when we drive by my old school I would say there was my school and mom would tell me I was too big to go there. I thought she was telling me I can't fit in the portables but how can I be too big for it if the teachers can fit in them too?

It took me years to realize she meant I was too old to attend there. The school was a bunch of portables with classrooms and a gym and a library.



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08 May 2010, 2:10 pm

I'm very literal. My husband complains about it all the time, in part because he says things that are meant to be joking or sarcastic but neglects to use a joking or sarcastic tone and thus I take him literally; he says so many illogical things in all seriousness that I can't assume he's joking like I would if a different person said some of the things he said.


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08 May 2010, 3:12 pm

Janissy wrote:
Agnieszka wrote:
I've been thinking about this issue today. As an English learner I came across many idioms. I take things literally sometimes but not idioms, I don't know when people are joking. When I read about having a green thumb for the first time, I didn't know what it could mean but didn't think I should take this literally. But when my husband told me recently that we could have black walls in our bathroom, I said it wasn't a good idea since I didn't know he wasn't serious then. Some people like dark walls... Anyway...
I wonder if NTs can guess what does for example a green thumb mean or do they have to learn about it from somebody? Is it something natural to know the meaning of idioms or we all learn it? Does anybody take idioms literally? Do you know that something is an idiom and do you understand it naturally?


If it's an idiom, such as green thumb, I figure it out from context.

Oddly enough, "green thumb" is one of the very few things in this thread that is an example of something that shouldn't be taken literally. Most of the examples given are of things that should be taken literally but you have to correctly guess the referrent based on what is most likely. Out of a choice of many possible referrents, people just guessed the wrong one. For example, somebody gave the example of a "no standing" road sign. They do mean that literally. No standing is allowed at that spot. But they don't tell you what exactly is not permitted to stand there. You must guess. The correct guess of referrent is " vehicle". The incorrect guess of referrent is "person". But in any case they mean that the vehicle shouldn't stand there. Standing doesn't require legs.

I don't remember exactly when I learned the idiom green thumb, or any other English idioms (I'm a native speaker, so it was long ago). Something I enjoy is hearing translated idioms from other languages and seeing if I can figure them out from context. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes the context is so culture-specific that a native speaker not only has to explain it to me but also explain the context that gave rise to the idiom because it's not part of my (American) culture. I work with a lot of people from around the world who speak a variety of languages. One of the things we do for fun when things get slow at work is trade idioms, to see whose idioms would be the weirdest if taken literally.


Thanks for the explanation! :) It always confuses me when I think of taking things literally.


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08 May 2010, 9:41 pm

Moog wrote:
dadelus wrote:
One of the first instructions stated "rinse with water before tasting". I took this to mean that I should rinse the marshmallows before tasting and did so.


What did it mean? Rinse your mouth? They should have written that if that was the case. It's an ambiguous instruction.


I agree. It's not so much taking things literally, as misinterpreting the object of the instruction, since it wasn't specifically stated. They did literally want you to rinse with water before tasting- they just didn't specify rinsing your mouth rather than rinsing the marshmallows.


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08 May 2010, 9:49 pm

I take things literally a lot. My mom is really annoyed with it. I feel a lot of people think I'm stupid & talk down to me because I get things confused. Also lots of people tell me that I am being difficult & they think I'm pretending to get things confused to be lazy or something. When I was in elementary school; a lot of people thought I was mentally retarded :cry:


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13 May 2010, 12:07 pm

When I was in my 20's this girl told me she liked me because I was different. She said she was use to being around different people because she has a brother with downsyndrome. I felt like she was comparing me to someone was mentally retarded or was saying I was retarded. So I got back at her by telling people that the miscarage she had was really a lie she was telling, trying to hide the fact she had an abortion. Turned out it was the truth and she never talked to me again and demanded I tell her who told me. My friends said they were always afraid to talk crap to me because of my ability to make stuff up and get people to believe it . :twisted: I still regreat telling people that about her.



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13 May 2010, 1:06 pm

isnessofwhatis wrote:
My first memory of taking something literally is when I was about 4 years old and my mom said she had a frog in her throat.


I can top that one. Never tell a very literal 4 year old that it's "raining cats and dogs". They managed to keep me from going out to catch one as it fell but weren't able to convince me that the very wet cat on our front step after the storm A: didn't fall out of the sky and B: wasn't intended just for me.