Complete Guide to Data's Contractions

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Captrek, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    A complete guide to Data’s contractions, based on the transcripts at Chrissie’s Transcripts. I can’t vouch for its complete accuracy.

    Episodes that precede Datalore, which is when they came up with the idea of Data not using contractions, are indicated with an asterisk.

    Many contractions on this list are used “in character” (e.g., playing Sherlock Holmes, performing Shakespeare, etc.).

    Encounter at Farpoint (*)
    DATA: No sir. But at your age, sir, I thought you shouldn't have to put up with the time and trouble of a shuttlecraft.

    DATA: No, sir. I'm an android.

    DATA: We're right next to it.

    DATA: I can't see as well as Geordi, sir, but so far the material seems rather very ordinary. ​

    The Naked Now (*)
    DATA: Correction, sir, that's blown out. ​

    Code Of Honour (*)
    DATA: It is a highly structured society in which people live by strict codes of honour. For example, what Lutan did is similar to what certain American Indians once did called counting coup. That's from an obscure language called French. Counting coup

    DATA: He says to the shopkeeper, I'd like a pound of kiddillies, please. The shopkeeper says to him, You mean kidneys, don't you? The man says, I said kiddillies, diddle I?

    DATA: Perhaps it is you, Geordi. Includling the kiddillies, I've learned six hundred sixty two jokes, and you have not

    DATA: You're welcome, sir.

    DATA: I'm here to brief you on what he plans. ​

    The Last Outpost (*)
    DATA: Captain, this shouldn't be. Our ship's power systems are failing.

    DATA: Tricorder's useless, sir. Communication's gone too. Fortunately you did not break any

    DATA: (holding one aloft) Careful, Commander, they're much stronger than

    DATA: I'm afraid not. According to the Tkon use of galactic motionary startime charts, after Bastu came Cimi, Xora, Makto ​

    Where No One Has Gone Before (*)
    DATA: It's off the scale, sir.

    DATA: Captain, we're here. Why not avail ourselves of this opportunity for study? There is a giant protostar here in the process of forming. No other vessel has been out this far. ​

    Lonely Among Us (*)
    DATA: Has studied, sir. Every case. As Holmes would've pointed out, during the time in question, something was afoot.

    DATA: Exactly. That they were too engaged in their own affairs to have disabled our ship and murdered the Engineer. Given a choice, they'd rather kill each other than any of us. It's elementary, my dear Riker. Sir.

    DATA: Yes, sir. If you wish, sir. But I ask if you'd take it as incontrovertible that it cannot be a family member or one of our crew?

    DATA: Sir, the entity was caught in the ship's circuitry. The Captain might try to get in the same way if he's in trouble.

    DATA: He's in the ship's circuitry. Come to the Transporter room, please. There might be a way, sir. Hurry! ​

    Justice (*)
    DATA: I'm reading something off the starboard bow, but there is nothing there.

    DATA: I've traced it through our sensor channel, sir It is not a glitch or any other form of error or malfunction.

    DATA: I've got some information on its first transmission, sir. It translates as stand by.

    DATA: The away team signal's been cut off, Captain. We've lost contact with our people.

    DATA: Definitely not a single entity if that's what you mean, sir, although they know the Edo worship them as a god thing.

    DATA: Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever babble, sir. It may be that from time to time I have considerable information to communicate, and you may question the way I organise it.

    DATA: The problem, sir, is there. (the Edo vessel) Although they've learned of the Prime Directive from my mind, how will they evaluate it? How do they reason? What are their values? Remember their warning to us, sir. ​

    The Battle (*)
    DATA: You'll find this most intriguing, sir.​

    Haven (*)
    DATA: Mrs. Troi, I'm very interested in the Betazed ceremony you mentioned. Could you tell us more?

    DATA: They're within transporter range, sir. ​

    The Big Goodbye (*)
    DATA: (Bogart) Hiya Doc. What's cooking?

    DATA: He's on ice.

    DATA: He's being grilled.

    DATA: Yeah, me too, boss. I'd love to take a gander. ​

    DATA: I've been most anxious to hear the Chief Engineer's opinion, Mister Argyle. Do you believe he can be made to function?

    DATA: Yes, sir. I'm fine. (twitch) ​

    Home Soil
    DATA: It's never been done, Doctor. ​

    Heart Of Glory
    DATA: I've found them, sir. The door to their compartment is jammed.

    DATA: The control mechanism's not operative, sir. ​

    DATA: Captain, I'm reading an unusual number of sunspots and eruptive prominences, sir. The magnetic field is extremely irregular. ​

    Skin of Evil
    DATA: Strange, sir. There's no emergency signal from the shuttle as yet. ​

    We'll Always Have Paris
    DATA: Oh, I see, sir. That is quite true, sir. I see time as a constant, whereas humans perceive time as flexible. Hence the expression, times flies when you're having fun, which until now has always confused me. ​

    Where Silence Has Lease
    DATA: We've regained ship's communication, sir.

    DATA: I've lost the signal, sir. ​

    Elementary, Dear Data
    DATA: Be a good fellow and answer that. Let's not keep the Inspector waiting.

    DATA: No. Look at his shoes. He's more a convict, released today from Dartmoor prison. He spent the day in a tavern consuming large quantities of gin with his killer, who followed him to this spot and waited over there until the victim slipped into a drunken stupor. Then, out of fear, motivated only by self-protection, strangled him. There is your killer, Inspector.

    DATA: No, Watson. Not a dead end at all. Hello, what's this? Can you see the scratches? ​

    The Outrageous Okona
    DATA: A guy walks into the doctor's office The doctor tells him you need an operation. The guy says I want a second opinion. The doctor said, okay, you're ugly too. Ba-boom boom. Was that funny?

    DATA: It was so small in fact we didn't have a godfather of crime, we had a nephew.​

    Unnatural Selection
    DATA: You're certain the Captain approved this, Doctor? ​

    A Matter of Honour
    DATA: He's only dazed, sir. ​

    The Measure Of A Man
    DATA: You've constructed a positronic brain? ​

    Pen Pals
    DATA: Commander, I've been reviewing the unmanned probe scans. At some point during the last one hundred and fifty years, the fifth planet of Selcundi Drema has shattered, forming an asteroid belt.

    DATA: Sarjenka? Wait! I'm Data. ​

    Samaritan Snare
    DATA: Sensors indicate engineering problems. They're experiencing total guidance system failure, with less than twenty four hours' reserve power.

    DATA: There's limited information available on Pakled culture, but the eclectic range of their equipment suggests their technology was borrowed from others. ​

    DATA: Indeed, sir. I'm on my way. Data out. ​

    The Ensigns of Command
    DATA: I'm afraid I have no time to answer a million questions. I have a mission to accomplish. I need to know more about your people, and Gosheven seems unwilling to talk to me further. ​

    Booby Trap
    DATA: Captain. We've been able to verify that these coils are the logs of the Promellian captain, but most of them have decayed and cannot be repaired. ​

    The Vengeance Factor
    DATA: Commander, I'm afraid the only entry we have on Volnoth in the Acamarian database is a birth record. ​

    The High Ground
    DATA: Sir, I've recommended such a course, but there are several wounded people and Doctor Crusher ​

    Deja Q
    DATA: I've never seen anyone eat ten chocolate sundaes. ​

    The Most Toys
    DATA: I've been delivered here against my wishes. I would like to know the reason. ​

    DATA: They've been made fully aware of the situation, sir. ​

    Future Imperfect
    DATA: Pardon me, sir. I am experiencing subspace interference which limits my abilities. I can't operate as quickly as ​

    Devil's Due
    DATA: I don't.

    DATA: I don't know.

    DATA: Because a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. Why, there's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are. Humbug, I tell you. Humbug.

    DATA: I'm afraid the contract could be interpreted in that way, sir. ​

    Identity Crisis
    DATA: The shuttle's entering the lower ionosphere, sir. ​

    In Theory
    DATA: Honey? I'm home.

    DATA: Excellent choice. I'll join you. Computer, two Calaman sherries. Would you care for some dinner as well?

    DATA: You don't tell me how to behave. You're not my mother. ​

    A Matter of Time
    DATA: If you're referring to the first production model automobile of the twentieth century, perhaps the subsequent Model A might be a more apt analogy, since I am Doctor Noonian Soong's revised prototype.

    DATA: Yes, sir. After an eight point three second burst from the dish, we'll discharge all EPS taps through the phasers. ​

    Cost of Living
    DATA: Captain, we're losing life support on decks eleven and twelve. ​

    The Next Phase
    DATA: Go to science station two on the main Bridge. Use a lateral sensor array to get a more precise reading. I will modify an anyon emitter to eliminate the fields once they've been isolated.

    DATA: I'm detecting a chroniton field in your room. May I scan the area? ​

    Time's Arrow, part 1
    DATA: Thank you for your advice, but I'm trying to find two individuals with a snake. ​

    DATA: Commander, I believe I have found something on the sphere which could be a communications device. There's an antenna array approximately four hundred thousand kilometres south of our present position. It is emitting low intensity subspace signals. ​

    DATA: We've been scanning the area since entering the system, but our readings are being disrupted. ​

    A Fistful of Datas
    DATA: According to my memory log, I did not use those words. Ya'll must be mistaken.

    DATA: Commander. You just sit tight. We'll have this all fixed up in time for supper. ​

    DATA: I'm sorry, sir, but Stellar Cartography has requested a communications blackout while they run an experiment. ​

    Frame of Mind
    DATA: You're becoming agitated.

    DATA: You're starting to sound angry again. Maybe you need another treatment.

    DATA: You're becoming agitated. ​

    Descent part 1
    DATA: I agree. Geordi, I believe I've experienced my first emotion. ​

    Descent part 2
    DATA: Shh. We're getting out of here.

    DATA: I'm attemptin to neutralise your pain receptors.

    DATA: I am implanting nano-cortical fibres in your cerebrum. They are designed to learn and mimic your neural firing patterns. Once they are in place, I will destroy the existing brain cells. We'll see if the artificial neural network is able to take over your cognitive functions. ​

    DATA: It provides tactile sensations so that Geordi can feel he's in the same environment as the probe. ​

    DATA: That was very thoughtful of him. I've been debating whether or not to initiate another dream sequence.

    DATA: Yes, sir. We'll be returning to the beam-out point shortly. ​

    Thine Own Self
    DATA: What's wrong with you? ​

    DATA: Yes, sir. There's Klingon DNA in the wound. It is saliva. ​

    All Good Things
    DATA: Holding the Lucasian Chair does have its perquisites. This house originally belonged to Sir Isaac Newton when he held the position. It's become the traditional residence.

    DATA: Captain, how long has it been since you've seen a physician about your Irumodic Syndrome?

    DATA: In all honesty, Captain, the thought has occurred to me. However, there's nothing to disprove what you're saying. So it's possible something is happening to you. The first thing we should do is run a complete series of neurographic scans. We can use the equipment at the biometrics lab here on the campus. Jessel, ask Professor Ripper to take over my lecture for tomorrow. Possibly for the rest of the week. Captain, we'll get to the bottom of this.

    DATA: I'm not sure. Information on the Klingon political structure is hard to come by these days. However, at last report Worf was governor of H'atoria, a small Klingon colony near the border.

    DATA: As you can see, sir, there's nothing there.

    DATA: Still nothing, Captain. I've conducted a full sensor sweep out to one light year from the Pasteur. No temporal anomalies, no particle fluctuations, nothing.

    DATA: There are several methods of detecting temporal disturbances, but we're limited by the equipment on the Pasteur.

    DATA: Captain, another ship decloaking bearing two one five mark three one oh. It's the Enterprise.

    DATA: They're hailing us.

    DATA: I think I know what the Captain's talking about. If I'm not mistaken, he's describing a paradox.

    DATA: Intriguing. It is possible we could've caused the very anomaly we've been looking for. Let us assume for a moment that the Captain has been travelling through time. Let us also assume he has initiated an tachyon pulse at the same coordinates in space in all three time periods. In that case, it is possible that the convergence of three tachyon pulses could've ruptured the subspace barrier and created an anti-time reaction. ​
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    There was one more in "We'll Always Have Paris" -- at the climax, when the three temporal copies of Data are trying to figure out which one is in the right time frame to seal the rift, one of them says, "Me. It's me!"

    And I'm not sure whether "Y'all" from "A Fistful of Datas" actually counts as a contraction. Okay, technically it's a contraction of "you all," but I think a case could be made that it's more of a plural pronoun in certain dialects.

    Anyway, this list proves that it's a mistake to believe Data was incapable of using contractions. What was actually stated in "Datalore" was that he preferred to speak more formally as a matter of habit. Unfortunately, some later episodes such as "The Offspring" misinterpreted it as some kind of handicap he couldn't overcome at all, which was clearly inconsistent with the evidence.
  3. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    Thanks! I missed it because the character name is identified on Chrissie’s Transcripts as “DATA 2” rather than “DATA”.

    Yeah, that’s a good point. I also included let’s from “Elementary, Dear Data.” Technically a contraction of let us, but nobody thinks of it that way.
  4. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 5, 2005
    It's all very silly, isn't it?

    As sophisticated as Data's positronic brain is, somehow he can't verbalize contractions? As if the use of contractions is beyond his advanced ability?

    And if it's by design, well what's the point of that?

    And if it's by personal choice, why would Data not want to speak as the human he wishes to emulate?

    Same with his knowledge gaps.

    He understands advanced physics and temporal mechanics and whatnot, yet doesn't know about "humor" and "fun" and "snoop" and "eager beaver". Why can't he access a simple thesaurus or dictionary in his memory banks? It's not that difficult.

    It's one thing to be inexperienced, but Data often expressed ignorance that shouldn't be possible given his capabilities. He can access and read and have total recall on literally volumes of texts. So come on...
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Exactly my point. "Datalore" never said he couldn't use contractions at all, just that he tended not to because it was his preference to speak in a formal manner. It was presented as a matter of habit, nothing more. Unfortunately, people misinterpreted it as meaning that he was incapable of it, and even more unfortunately, some of those people went on to write later episodes of the series.

    Since when did all humans speak the same way?

    Actually, for some people, it is. We're talking about different kinds of knowledge here. People in real life with Asperger's Syndrome or other autistic-spectrum conditions can be a lot like Data -- very good at intellectual, rational stuff, but very poor at understanding emotional or social behavior. People like that can indeed be highly literal and have trouble understanding when people are speaking figuratively or jokingly, because they can recognize the words but have trouble perceiving the underlying nonverbal and situational cues that determine whether those words are being used literally or figuratively. They can learn such things with enough effort and practice, but it's not as easy for them as it would be for most people, because their brains simply aren't wired the same way. So even as adults, they can sometimes be as literal-minded and socially impaired as Data.

    In fact, Data's ability to understand human behavior is probably greater than it realistically would be. In real life, there are people whose capacity for emotion is impaired, due to psychopathy or brain injury or whatever, and not only can they not experience emotion themselves, but they can't even perceive emotion in other people. They couldn't tell if you were happy or sad or angry, because their brains just wouldn't be able to process the signals you were giving off. So the fact that Data, a being without the ability to feel human emotions, is even able to read emotion in others at all is quite impressive. It probably took him a great deal of practice to learn how to identify the signs.

    I don't think TNG's writers knew any of this, especially since a lot of it wasn't really worked out, or at least commonly understood, until after TNG was made. But it turns out that the way they portrayed Data isn't really that implausible after all.
  6. T'Preea

    T'Preea Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 5, 2012
    Stimulating Data's Synaptic Pathways.
    Data for the most part is like a child. He looks like an adult man, but he was programed to learn things as he experiences life. If he was programmed to know every little nuance of being human, such as humor and the like; there would be nothing for him to experience and, subsequently; learn from those experiences.
  7. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    It would have been amusing to see Data trying to use contractions and doing it wrong.

    JOHN DOE: Are you Mr. Data?
    DATA: Yes, I'm.

    Like Spock trying to swear.
  8. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 20, 2009
    Pre-Warp Civilization of Alaska
    Bounder: Why don't you say the letter 'z' at the end of a word like 'It's" instead of ' 's '

    Data: What you mean.....spell the possessive form with a 'z' ?

    Bounder: Yes

    Data: 'Itz'. Oh that's very good, I never thought of that what a silly bunt.
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Which is a good idea in principle, but the problem was that TNG established early on that he was over 25 years old when we first met him, which should've been plenty of time to outgrow that naivete. It would've made more sense if he'd been only a few years old at the start of TNG.

    In my TNG prequel novel The Buried Age, I tried to explain why Data was still so naive after so many years. I suggested that, because a lot of people in Starfleet were uncomfortable with a sentient android or unsure what to make of him, he tended to get shunted to isolated duty assignments and wasn't given many opportunities for social interaction. I'm not entirely happy with that explanation, but it was the best thing I could come up with.
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Of course, 25 years might count as early infancy for an android designed to grow and learn for centuries. Data was Soong's son; why hurry with puberty?

    If anything, hurry past puberty eventually, so that you go straight from a dependant to a drinking buddy, well before you yourself die.

    Timo Saloniemi
  11. Mott the barber

    Mott the barber Commodore Commodore

    Jun 26, 2001
    It's funny but I just watched that episode and immediately thought of mentioning it. Such a blatant example seeing as how he shouted it.
  12. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    It fits well with the model you suggested above comparing Data to someone with an ASD. Researchers have identified a vicious cycle that begins in childhood wherein a deficit of social skills leads to a deficit of social interactions, which limits opportunities to practice social skills, which leads to the subject’s social skills continuing to fall further behind relative to his peers.

    The possessive form is no problem for Data, just the contractions. The Travel Agent Sketch solution would be to say its instead of it’s, cant instead of can’t, wooden instead of wouldn’t (it most contexts, the missing terminal t wooden be very noticeable), etc.
  13. T'Preea

    T'Preea Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 5, 2012
    Stimulating Data's Synaptic Pathways.
    In principle, yes; but when you think about it, every time Data has a new experience or a new phase of growth; his Positronic brain develops new sets of subroutines with which to process and store this new information. If he had grown out of the "naivete" as you put it, this process would never take place.

    I agree. In "The Offspring", Data mentioned that Lal was soon going to be experiencing Sentience which is technically Android puberty. Who's to say that it's not a long process?
  14. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 20, 2009
    Pre-Warp Civilization of Alaska
    You have me! Well done! I should know better than try to attempt the creation of a well-thought-out, witty mash-up before I have my morning coffee!
  15. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    That's OK. If you'd had your coffee first, you would have denied me the pleasure of unnecessarily correcting you.
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    By the way, does anyone else think it's not a coincidence that when Brent Spiner first appears on camera as Arik Soong in ENT: "Borderland," his first spoken word is a contraction ("I'm busy")? It's kinda like they're saying "No, folks, this ain't Data!"
  17. T'Preea

    T'Preea Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 5, 2012
    Stimulating Data's Synaptic Pathways.
    Huh? Never thought of it that way. How very intriguing.
  18. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    Noonien Soong's first word is also a contraction. ("You're right on time.")