Yogi Berra, linguistic savant

(K. Brent Tomer),

YOGI BERRA has died at the age of 90. One of the best catchers in baseball history, he is nonetheless as well known for what he said away from the baseball diamond as what he did on it. In the words of the New York Post, which has published 35 famous Berra quotes, he “creatively butchered the English language”. 

This almost implies that Mr Berra was a simpleton. In fact, some of his best-known quotes go a long way to showing just how well language may be used.

To be sure, some of the quotes attributed to Mr Berra are classic pratfalls: “Baseball is 90 per cent mental. The other half is physical.” “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.” But other quotes show a twinkling sense of fun; Mr Berra was clearly playing when he made a lot of his “mistakes”. And many of them are not mistakes at all.

Mr Berra’s most-quoted phrase is: “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Taken as propositional logic, this is informationless: of course it isn’t. But take a similar phrase many people use…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC Yogi Berra, linguistic savant


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