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28 Juli 2005 @ 20:00
Drop no tea  

The following text appears on a sign outside an auditorium which shall (for now) remain nameless:

No Food
or
No Beverage
Allowed
in the Auditorium

This is a bit confusing. I'm used to auditoria that permit "no food or beverage," and I'm used to ones that permit "no food and no beverage," but the rules governing comestibles around here seem to be rather different. Clearly one is allowed to have no food with one in the auditorium, or no beverage, but it is not clear whether one is permitted to have both no food and no beverage at the same time. If not, I'm breaking the rule, because I have neither, and I'm in the auditorium right now.

 
 
 
Tishiewahooweena on 28. Juli, 2005 17:46 (UTC)
In Logic, the word OR means one or the other or both, rather than one or the other but not both, the way it means to most English speakers. So maybe it was a philosophy major who wrote the sign? Even then, it wouldn't make sense, because they could have simply said AND. Oh well.

I think you are breaking the rule. Better go get something to drink!
love, play & inquirytrochee on 28. Juli, 2005 20:24 (UTC)
while we're at it, this could be a Lady and the Tiger kind of question. "One of these things is not allowed in the auditorium, but I won't tell you which. If you are wrong, then...
Henrytahnan on 29. Juli, 2005 00:06 (UTC)
Ah, well now, if that's the local Eeroditorium, then I can attest that you're definitely misreading it. I asked the facilities manager and he made clear that, in fact, there are two things not permitted in the auditorium: "food" is one, and "No beverage" is the other--heroic and stylized sake is impossible to get out of the carpet.

Love the subject line, by the way.
lascribe on 29. Juli, 2005 13:27 (UTC)
Aren't there any auditori-whatsits around that have mastered the neither-nor construction?
Merlemerle_ on 31. Juli, 2005 13:03 (UTC)
Is it Kresge Auditorium?

Now I would interpret that sign as saying that I could have either food or beverage -- just not both. If I have food and no beverage, then I am fulfilling the conditional "(no food) or (no beverage)". But that's my programmer persona, not my linguist persona.

There's a parking sign with similarly arguable meanings near where I work. It would almost be worth parking there, just to fight the ticket based on viable parsings...
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 1. August, 2005 15:15 (UTC)

I thought the auditorium wouldn't remain nameless for long, and indeed tahnan and merle_ have identified it. I'm also delighted by all the additional construals that hadn't occurred to me. (Luckily, I was carrying no No beverage with me at the time....)

Merlemerle_ on 6. August, 2005 12:06 (UTC)
Actually, I *cough* cheated a bit.

Google on ["eero saarinen" auditorium] and it is almost all of the top hits.

Never seen it in real life, personally.