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"Time flies favor an arrow: fruit flies prefer a banana” is often attributed to the comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977), yet Marx—if he ever before said it—almost absolutely has nothing to do with the saying. “Time flies” is indigenous the old Latin saying tempus fugit. “Time flies choose an arrow” (that is, time overcome surely and also swiftly) is a Chinese maxim that has been cited in English due to the fact that at the very least 1815. Anthony G. Oettinger, the Gordon McKay Professor of used Mathematics and Professor of details Resources policy (Emeritus) in ~ Harvard University, and also Susumu Kuno tested the saying “Time flies like an arrow” in 1963 into an IBM 7090 computer. The word “flies” deserve to be both a noun and a verb. A November 1963 newspaper story reported the the computer would it is in tripped increase on the sentence “Fruit flies choose bananas.” “Time flies favor an arrow; fruit flies favor a banana” came to be popular in computational linguistics. Wikipedia: Time flies choose an arrow; fruit flies choose a banana“Time flies prefer an arrow; fruit flies like a banana,” is a saying, often taken humorously, that is offered in linguistics as an instance of a garden path sentence and also syntactic ambiguity, and in native play as an example of punning, twin entendre, and also antanaclasis. A relatively common different is, “Time flies favor the wind; fruit flies prefer a banana.” The semicolon is occasionally replaced through a full stop, or the second fifty percent may be came before by the word but. Part versions have bananas instead of a banana. Google BooksA thesaurus of the Chinese Language: In 3 PartsVolume 1By Robert MorrisonMacao: printed at the Honorable east India Company’s Press1815Pg. 755:But time flies choose an arrow. Google BooksChinese moral Maxims, with a free and linguistic translationCompiled by man Francis DavisLondon: man Murray1823Pg. 28:XXXVII. Time flies prefer an arrow: days and months like a weaver’s shuttle. 14 November 1963, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 2, col. 1:MACHINE MAY find out ENGLISH—IN TIMENew type of paris Swats ComputerBy FRED BRADYTwo Harvard professors sat in front of their best-behaved pupil—an IBM 7090 computer—and directed: “Parse this sentence: ‘Time flies choose an arrow.’”(...)This time, no so pleased to be Profs. Anthony Oettinger and Susumu Kuno.(...)The professors consisted of this in your report yesterday in las Vegas to a computer conference that the American Federation of details Processing Societies. Google News Archive14 November 1963, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “Those Foolish Computers,” pg. 28, cols. 1-2:Take the simile “Time flies like an arrow.” A grammarian easily identifies “time” together a subject of the verb “flies,” the verb gift modified by the adverbial phrase “like an arrow.” The computer system will analysis the sentence in the same way but, gift literal minded, it doesn’t protect against here. It likewise will clack and bleep out beauties prefer these: “Determine the speed of flies as rapid as friend can” and also “A varieties of fly, called time flies, enjoys one arrow.” you could, of course, train the electronic mind to prevent this foolishness and avoid misuse of “flies” in the simile. Then it would pilgrimage in dealing with a sentence favor “Fruit flies favor bananas.” 15 September 1964, Hattiesburg (MS) American, “Writers space safe” through Archy Fairly, pg. 2, col. 1:With old automation creeping up on us in countless ways us don’t also dream of, writers must feel relieved at the an outcome of some recent computer system tests in ~ Harvard.(...)The thing seemed to perform all ideal with some straightforward sentences, such as “people check out English.” Another straightforward sentence, “time flys favor an arrow,” made that stutter, display some pyrotechnics and also say “er-uh” as numerous times together the man from Texas. The poor old maker just couldn’t number out how rapid flies fly, or whether a certain kind that flies, referred to as time, space fond that arrows. The programmers can make the answer one means or another, however then the device couldn’t manage a basic sentence like: “Fruit flies like bananas.” Google BooksThe computer system Age and Its Potential for ManagementBy Gilbert BurckNew York, NY: Harper & Row1965Pg. 61:This is quiet a long method off, yet a regime written (Pg. 62—ed.) through Anthony Oettinger and Susumu Kuno the Harvard’s Computational Library patent a computer system to list all feasible meanings. ‘Time flies choose an arrow” might seem reasonably straightforward come us, yet a maker sees a number of other possibilities—for example, “Time the rate of flies as conveniently as you can” ("time" being construed as a verb fairly than a noun) and “Certain flies gain an arrow” ("time" being taken as an adjective, and also “like” being interpreted as a verb). The maker could be instructed to dominance out these certain offbeat parsings, however how would it manage the sentence, “Fruit flies choose bananas”? difficulties of semantics continue to plague investigators came to with progressed man-machine communication. The Harvard CrimsonComputer use to Be broadened TenfoldBy JOEL R. KRAMER,Published: Tuesday, march 29, 1966(...)Take the sentence: “Time flies like an arrow.” instead of having the machine say, “time: subject, verb, adjective,” and having the observer choose “subject” because that this certain context, why can’t the maker be instructed to “figure that out?” “Time flies like an arrow” is not really very different from “Fruit flies favor a banana,” but their diagrams are at the opposite poles. In the latter, “fruit flies” room a types of fly and “like” is a verb. Why shouldn’t the machine say the “time flies” are one more (admittedly rarer) species? September 1966, scientific American, “The provides of computers in Science” by Anthony Oettinger, pg. 168:A grammar that pretends to define English at every accurately have to yield a structure for “Time flies favor an arrow” in which “time” is the subject of the verb “flies” and also “like one arrow” is an adverb phrase modifying the verb. “Time” can additionally serve attributively, however, together in “time bomb,” and “flies” the course can serve together a noun. Together with “like” understood as a verb, this returns a structure that becomes evident only if one think of a sort of flies called “time flies,” which occur to choose an arrow, probably as a meal. Moreover, “time” together an command verb v “flies” together a noun also yields a structure that provides sense together an order to someone to take out his stopwatch and also time paris with good dispatch, or prefer an arrow.(...)Worse however anything judgment out the nonexisting types of time paris will additionally rule the end the identical however legitimate structure of “Fruit flies like a banana.” Google BooksRun, Computer, Run; The Mythology of educational InnovationBy Anthony G. Oettinger and Sema MarksCambridge, MA: Harvard college Press1969Pg. 29:Worse yet, anything judgment out the nonexisting varieties of time paris will likewise rule the end the identical but legitimate structure of “Fruit flies prefer a banana.” Google BooksHandbook of decided Pathology and AudiologyBy Lee Edward TravisNew York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts1971Pg. 1165:“Fruit flies choose a banana.”Semantics, the all as well nebulous id of what a sentence means, need to be invoked to choose amongst the three frameworks syntax accepts for “Time flies like an arrow.” No methods now known have the right to deal efficiently with semantic difficulties of this kind.