Talk:2793: Garden Path Sentence

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The bot didn't upload the most recent comic so I tried to do it myself, but I think I screwed it up :(Szeth Pancakes (talk) 18:31, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

I think the term "bird strikes" should be interpreted as a plural noun, given the two Xs on the map. Something like "After bird strikes, judge ... overturned but rights and lands safely" 20:30, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

Or it could be the bird strikes judge... You know, the one who was the judge in an important and well-known "bird strikes" case, possibly environmental, possibly an insurance scam case or something.Thisfox (talk) 21:46, 23 June 2023 (UTC)
I'd rather think the first x is where the plane was struck and overturned and the second one where it righted -- 11:09, 1 July 2023 (UTC)

I don't think the current interpretation is wrong, but "olive garden" could be the lower-case-when-not-a-comics-headline descriptor for, you know, an actual garden of olive trees. That makes more sense when referring to green walkways. Nitpicking (talk) 20:33, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

Can someone also parse the alt-text? I still can't figure it out. - 20:39, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

I think it's saying the arboretum owner (who is appealing the case) is himself appealing. I'm still having trouble with the grounds grounds portion though. :(*anonymouse* (talk) 20:48, 23 June 2023 (UTC)
He was appealing the lawsuit on the grounds that the grounds were appealing Ahecht (talk) 22:06, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

Going by the picture I think the "bird" that struck the judge may be the plane.

Disagree, "bird strike" is a term used for an incident where a bird strikes a vehicle, usually a plane. 20:50, 23 June 2023 (UTC)
But all these conflicting interpretations proves Randall's point that this is a garden path sentence :) Natg19 (talk) 20:52, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

*anonymouse* please reconsider your edits; before them, I think I understood the meaning, but your supposed clarification messed it up :( the paragraph you removed seemed more plausible to me, and it also contained some useful wiki links to bird strike and vacated judgement. Torzsmokus (talk) 20:47, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

As I understood it, birds hit the plane piloted by the judge that gave the Olive Garden path sentence, overturning it (!!!), but he righted it and managed to land. J Petry (talk) 20:49, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

A wikipedia:bird strike is an aviation thing. Given the airplane in the photo and the path to what appears to be runways, I think that these are the bird strikes it's referring to. "Rights and lands safely" also would refer to the judge piloting an airplane. "Overturned" thus should also refer to the flight, but I would expect it to be something like "overturns", not "overturned", given "rights and lands". Thus: "After bird strikes, the judge who ordered the sentence overturned in the olive garden path case, his plane overturned, but rights the aircraft and lands it safely." SheeEttin (talk) 20:53, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

I see what you're saying, and I think you're right. After (multiple) bird strikes the (plane being flown by the judge) overturned but was able to right itself. :(*anonymouse* (talk) 20:57, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

I feel certain that "olive" refers to the shade of green, because otherwise why specify "green" walkways? This makes "Olive Garden" a red herring, which seems likely. -- 21:01, 23 June 2023 (UTC)

I disagree. I read "olive garden" as a literal garden of olive trees. Randall is exploiting our familiarity with the Olive Garden restaurant to construct the sentence. The path would be a footpath or something through this garden. What makes the walkways green? No idea, maybe they're the kind that are actually solar panels. SheeEttin (talk) 22:10, 23 June 2023 (UTC)
I would interpret "green walkway" as meaning a picturesque walkway going through a forest, public gardens, or similar, which fits in with the olive trees. Searching for the term on Wikipedia suggests this expression is more commonly used in England than in the US. Hmj (talk) 05:29, 24 June 2023 (UTC)
As an American, I assumed exactly the same meaning for "green walkway". I see no reason to interpret "olive" as a color in this comic. The primary meaning of "olive garden path" is definitely a path within a garden where olives are grown. The idea of "olive" referring to the color green could be mentioned as a possible alternative explanation but should not be the primary one. CarLuva (talk) 13:43, 26 June 2023 (UTC)
You wouldn't grow olives in a garden, they'd be in an orchard or a grove. Ahecht (talk) 19:19, 26 June 2023 (UTC)

I still don't like "overturned but rights and lands" - why would the first verb be in the past tense and the others present tense, if they are describing events that happened within a very short time of each other? Wouldn't a headline be entirely in the present tense? 05:10, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

Because it had to overturn first (in the past) before it could right and land. It's a valid use of tense, using the past tense helps establish the sequence of events. Simpler sentences only use 3 tenses: past, present, and future, so in such a sentence, since none of the three events are in the future, two must share a tense. It could also have been "overturned, righted, and lands safely.", with two being past tense and the last being present. Getting less simple would be "had overturned, then righted so it lands safely", to give each term its own tense. Alternatively, because they're separate parts of the sentence: "Overturned" is that a court case sentence was overturned, which was further in the past, before this flight, but the most current event - that the judge rights the plane and lands the plane - is being listed in present tense, as the most current thing to happen. NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:13, 24 June 2023 (UTC)
This bothers me as well, but I don't see a way around it. It's possible that the case was "the case of the green walkways vacated," but then we need a valid parsing of "After bird strikes judge who ordered sentence overturned but rights and lands safely." Failing that, I'm prepared to conclude that the mixed case is either an error or a deliberate fudging of the norm for the sake of making it more confusing. 18:52, 24 June 2023 (UTC)
I am convinced that "overturned" is referring to the case, and "vacated" is referring to the walkways. That keeps the verb tense for the pilot/judge consistent: "rights" and "lands". The judge ordered the "olive garden path" sentence be overturned in the "case of green walkways vacated". In other words, the walkways were vacated, which led to an "olive garden path sentence", and that sentence was overturned, and the judge/pilot "rights and lands" the plane safely. Verb tense is one of the few hints on how to parse something so convoluted, and there's no better argument I can see for the current interpretation above that applies "overturned" to the plane itself. So, the plane was not overturned, but did need to be righted. DanShock (talk) 15:15, 26 June 2023 (UTC)

This also suggests the plane was overturned by some external factor, rather than just overturning by itself.

I had understood that an actual flying animal - a bird - bounced off the judge's head - in present tense, the bird strikes the judge - which made it flip over, but it managed to right itself and properly land, as if that's important. I honestly feel like this interpretation of "bird" makes more sense than an airplane being involved. Also that it adds humour, since how is the bird important enough to care that it recovered, and care ENOUGH that it should be mentioned in the headline. :) (I hadn't gotten around to trying to figure out the rest, felt too difficult until I read the concept of a garden path sentence) NiceGuy1 (talk) 07:03, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

Check that, JUST noticed the PICTURE of a judge standing in front of a plane, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 15:29, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

I can't help but feel a better (worse?) sentence would be "After bird strikes judge who ordered olive garden path sentence in case of emergency exits vacated overturned but rights and lands safely", playing off familiarity with the phrase "in case of emergency" and the fact that "exit" is both a verb and a noun. 13:39, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

I'm usually the one seeking explanation here. All the discussion above is actually the funny part because Garden Path sentences can't be properly parsed!

The above unsigned comment may mislead. Garden path sentences can be parsed because they are syntactically correct. (Indeed, the point is that they allow multiple correct parsings and so give rise to multiple semantic interpretations some of which are humorously implausible.) Perhaps the commentator intended a specialized meaning of "proper" to mean something like "uniquely," but I was unable to find similar uses online. Davidhbrown (talk) 14:22, 27 June 2023 (UTC)
While a GPS might indeed have multiple 'correct' parsings (perhaps leading to ambiguity as to which was the intended context of assemblage), I think the point is mote that it has multiple intermediate parsings, like snaking through a maze of grammatical interpretations. If, just inside the 'maze entrance', you decide the second word is a noun you may then follow just as convoluted a path of subsequent rationalisations as if you had tentatively parsed it as a verb.
In both cases you may have further choices to make, in senses relatively unique to how you got there, or obvious singular presumptions, or both (if start with noun, fourth word in may seem to clearly be a verb; if started with verb, you now may need to treat fourth as noun which leads directly fo the fifth as an adverb or fourth+fifth as an atomic noun-phrase...). But whichever path you travel might end up "in the scrub", unable to get through inpenetrable undergrowth that now lies between you and the furthest extent of the "garden".
So you have to think (check that you're definitely going down the wrong parsing-route), backtrack, perhaps ponder if an 'obvious' syntax part way through might not have a different valid parsable interpretation. In the worst case scenario, though, you may find yourself having to start off (almost) from the beginning again, and having to try again making the original noun/verb interpretation differently. And trying not to get sidetracked by memories of what was 'so obvious' in the different original route of parsing the syntactical tree, but makes less sense during this approach. Unless it actually does make sense (unlikely as it might have been), and is now the valid (but obscure) parsing-route to the end that avoids yet another red herring sub-branch of understanding... 15:30, 27 June 2023 (UTC)

I think a useful addition to all the "the whole sentence could be" ideas, which could subsume all the "this bit could be rea as...", would be to do a table or header-list of how each sequential chain of words might be interpreted. Such as:

... bird: a dinosaur; bird strikes: multiple aviation icidents; strikes: something or someone impacting a target; strikes: where an idea suddenly occured to a person; strikes judge: a justice of the peace who a) adjudicated, or b) took part in, industrial action; Judge Who: a person's name/honorific; who ordered olive garden path: a possible question; ordered Olive: commanded someone called Olive to do something; olive garden: an area for growing Olea Europaea shrubs; garden path: a trail or access through an aesthetically-designed space of cultivation; garden path sentence: <ibid>; sentence in case: a ruling made following a legal hearing; in case of: indicates a conditional statement; ...

Here squashed together (and many omissions made, even within that sub-chain), just to get the idea together. Perhaps, in table form, indexed by "(OPTIONAL)FOO <one or more adjacent words> (OPTIONAL)BAR" with something like "the FOO <undergoes an action of> some BAR", and add a reference to each (<placing of start-word>.<number of words>(<optional alpabetic index to distinguish exact overlaps of different distinctions>?), then a valid complete sentence (or composite partial section) can be described like "1.1 2.1 3.2b 5.2 7.1 8.1 9.3c 12...", or any another variation that a reader might want to then summarise/expand with a "plain English"/unambiguous 'translation'. And all existing work/exposition can be folded into this in a more structured and less randomly-conversational manner. 19:50, 24 June 2023 (UTC)

Newspaper headlines like that are fun. Best one so far: "Police stops speeding car with unsecured baby" 07:29, 26 June 2023 (UTC)