Inflection is everything

I just saw this on the VO-BB and had to post it here.

Remember our exercise using the word YES to mean NO?

This from Leo Rosten’s book “The Joys of Yiddish”: (The questioner as asking whether he/she should attend a concert being given by a niece. The meaning of the same sentence changes completely, depending on where the speaker places the emphasis:)

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–meaning:, “After what she did to me?”

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–meaning:, “After what she did to me?” I should buy two tickets for her concert?–meaning: “What, you’re giving me a lesson in ethics?”

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–meaning: I wouldn’t go even if she were giving out free passes!

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–meaning: I’m having enough trouble deciding whether it’s worth one.

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–She should be giving out free passes, or the hall will be empty.

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–Did she buy tickets to our daughter’s recital?

  • I should buy two tickets for her concert?–You mean, they call what she does a “concert”?

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