May 15, 2004

Escher sentences: prior art

Neque Volvere Trochum at entangledbank -- or is it entangledbank at Neque Volvere Trochum? -- has found some prior art for the coinage "Escher sentence", in a MST-ing of some LotR fan fiction:

Frodo nearly didn't escape, but with one less finger.

Back: As opposed to the last time he nearly didn't escape, back when he had two less fingers.
Restless: Ooh. Could said finger be up your ass, scratching around, trying to find a Coherant [sic] Thought?
Tele: *blinks. reads sentence again. blinks more* No matter how you slice it, that's still not making sense.
Kyuu: This is sort of like one of those Escher paintings, like with the stairways. Or a moebius strip. You keep going round and round trying to make sense of it.

While you're visiting, N.V.T. (or entangledbank?) also offers several interesting observations on other Escher-like sentences, as well as insights into the mysteries of syntax, phonology, exam preparation and nanoporn.

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 15, 2004 11:46 AM