Here's a more general definition, though, from the American Heritage Dictionary: "Correcting or adjusting for something, as by leaving something out of account: 'This proposal is the best so far, modulo the fact that parts of it need modification.'"
What would be useful was if English had the concept of circa or ca (or even ~), for talking about rough numbers: circa 100 people will come to the party. It's more precise than using around, which is the nearest equivalent.
As someone who fully understands the use of modulo in mathematics and programming, I'm not seeing any connection to its use as a preposition in any of these examples. They all seem to be cases where I would use "except for" or "save for".
God forbid people have fun with language. I guess we should all just use Basic English and be done with it.
five minus two equals three.
five less two is three.
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"Tonight's feature, Eegah!, circa 1962".
This seems to me a tremendously insecure and parochial approach to language. Like anyone, I suppose, I occasionally encounter an unfamiliar word. If my choices are:
a) assume the speaker is a condescending pedant who is trying to make me shamefully admit my ignorance, or
b) look it up,
I tend to just look it up.
Svch as by their place and calling, (but especially Preachers) as haue occasion to speak publiquely before the ignorant people, are to bee admonished, that they neuer affect any strange ynckhorne termes, but labour to speake so as is commonly receiued, and so as the most ignorant may well vnderstand them: neyther seeking to be ouer fine or curious, nor yet liuing ouer carelesse, vsing their speech, as most men doe, & ordering their wits, as the fewest haue done. Some men seek so far for outlandish English, that they forget altogether their mothers language, so that if some of their mothers were aliue, they were not able to tell, or vnderstand what they say, and yet these fine English Clearks, will say they speak in their mother tongue; but one might well charge them, for counterfeyting the Kings English.
Also, some far iournied gentlemen, at their returne home, like as they loue to go in forraine apparrell, so they will pouder their talke with ouer-sea language. He that commeth lately out of France, will talk French English, and neuer blush at the matter. Another chops in with English Italianated, and applyeth the Italian phrase to our English speaking, the which is, as if an Orator, that professeth to vtter his minde in plaine Latine, would needs speake Poetrie, & far fetched colours of strange antiquitie. Doth any wise man think, that wit resteth in strange words, or els standeth it not in wholsome matter, and apt declaring of a mans mind? Do we not speak, because we would haue other to vnderstand vs? or is not the tongue giuen for this end, that one might know what another meaneth?
So, again, I guess we should use Basic English for everything?
So what is your point then? Other than that apparently mathy people using mathy terms means they're pretentious and insecure.
So, Jehan, what status of yours do you want to mark by using only Basic English?
English is plusungood. Neologisms are doubleplusungood. We should use Newspeak instead. Newspeak is doubleplusgood.
So, again, I guess we should use Basic English for everything?
Indeed my friend, that's exactly the point of my message. Well done, give yourself a gold star for understanding.
But Jehan, you said that "people use English to mark their status." I am still curious what status you want to mark for yourself by your advocacy and use of the particular variety you are advocating, whatever name we may give it (i.e. modulo naming).
I've been trying to stay out of this stupid derail, but I can't resist any more: you really seem to think it's as simple as that, which means you're blissfully unaware of millennia of philosophical and other discussion of language and how people use it. "Just write like I do! What's so hard about that? I write the right way!" Think about it for two seconds, will you? You say "I'm not really trying to show anything about myself," but that's what those people you accuse of showing off would say. You, of course, would accuse them of being disingenuous (uh-oh, a big word!) because they're using bigger words than you do. If someone uses smaller words than you do, you'd presumably accuse them of talking down or something. You, after all, are the measure of all things. Do you really not see how smug and utterly egocentric that is? You're "marking your status" just as much or as little as anyone else: γνῶθι σαυτόν, as the Greeks said.
And you, of course, know all about this mythical "average person" and how he or she uses words.
I'm starting to think you don't want to get it.
Write to the average (WTA),
Consider your audience (CYA).
I think CYA is vastly more important than WTA. Are you saying WTA much more important?
It's also very dependent on the size of the group. As you're speaking to more and more people, you necessarily have to restrict your language. If I were writing for a general interest magazine I'd be restricting my vocabulary. But I doubt if anything I've written was ever read by more than 100 people. What's the situation you're imagining your advice to apply to? More specifically, could you give an example of the unnecessarily complicated written language that has troubled your parents? [In my case, multi-lingual mish-mashes of prolix esoterica is the best way to communicate with my Father, so we're definitely coming from different backgrounds.]
The other thing I've realized is that instead of the "average" vocabulary, what you're describing is more like the "lowest common denominator" in language. (Though in the technical spirit of this post, it's actually the greatest lower bound / infimum of the vocabularies.) I wonder if anybody's objections would go away if you used that term?
You have no more business telling grown people not taking a class from you how to write than you would going up to someone at a party and patting them on the head or telling them "play nice!"
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