0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Discussion related to Forward

0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby dr pepper » Sun May 03, 2020 8:40 pm

Image
User avatar
dr pepper
 
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:52 pm

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby dr pepper » Sun May 03, 2020 8:42 pm

Actually, i think you could be both precise and accurate with a sharp machete, it's just that you would do slow paring motions with it instead of fast swings.
User avatar
dr pepper
 
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:52 pm

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby lolzor99 » Wed May 06, 2020 2:10 am

Rather confused as to how Zoa can lack knowledge about the definitions of words. She's demonstrated the ability to perform near-instantaneous web searches before and process large amounts of data. I suppose this could be explained if Zoa is not actually curious about the definition, but wants Caleb to answer for some reason?
lolzor99
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:39 pm

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Killjoy » Fri May 08, 2020 7:58 am

lolzor99 wrote:Rather confused as to how Zoa can lack knowledge about the definitions of words. She's demonstrated the ability to perform near-instantaneous web searches before and process large amounts of data. I suppose this could be explained if Zoa is not actually curious about the definition, but wants Caleb to answer for some reason?


Because dictionaries etc have fallen into the trap of being entirely descriptive, and insist on only reflecting usage, if you look up one of those words, the other will be listed as a synonym, because their popular usage is neither accurate nor precise.
Likes his women like he likes his coffee... a little sweet, a little spicy, a little strong, a little earthy, a little smokey, totally honest, and maybe a little offended by being compared to a beverage.
Killjoy
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:58 am

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby tenshiko » Sun May 10, 2020 10:41 am

lolzor99 wrote:Rather confused as to how Zoa can lack knowledge about the definitions of words. She's demonstrated the ability to perform near-instantaneous web searches before and process large amounts of data. I suppose this could be explained if Zoa is not actually curious about the definition, but wants Caleb to answer for some reason?


Because she has ultimately finite attention much more attuned to actual usage of human clients, much like human development of an allistic mind.
tenshiko
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:52 pm

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Derleth » Tue May 19, 2020 12:24 am

Killjoy wrote:
lolzor99 wrote:Rather confused as to how Zoa can lack knowledge about the definitions of words. She's demonstrated the ability to perform near-instantaneous web searches before and process large amounts of data. I suppose this could be explained if Zoa is not actually curious about the definition, but wants Caleb to answer for some reason?


Because dictionaries etc have fallen into the trap of being entirely descriptive, and insist on only reflecting usage, if you look up one of those words, the other will be listed as a synonym, because their popular usage is neither accurate nor precise.
Dictionaries have always been entirely descriptive. That's what a dictionary is.
Derleth
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:16 am

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Killjoy » Tue May 19, 2020 12:35 pm

Derleth wrote:
Killjoy wrote:
lolzor99 wrote:Rather confused as to how Zoa can lack knowledge about the definitions of words. She's demonstrated the ability to perform near-instantaneous web searches before and process large amounts of data. I suppose this could be explained if Zoa is not actually curious about the definition, but wants Caleb to answer for some reason?


Because dictionaries etc have fallen into the trap of being entirely descriptive, and insist on only reflecting usage, if you look up one of those words, the other will be listed as a synonym, because their popular usage is neither accurate nor precise.
Dictionaries have always been entirely descriptive. That's what a dictionary is.


"Always"?

http://www.englishplus.com/news/news1100.htm

Webster's, for example, started at as strongly prescriptive.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the descriptivists and postmodernists have convinced people that it never happened, that's what they're best at.
Likes his women like he likes his coffee... a little sweet, a little spicy, a little strong, a little earthy, a little smokey, totally honest, and maybe a little offended by being compared to a beverage.
Killjoy
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:58 am

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Derleth » Wed May 20, 2020 5:14 pm

Killjoy wrote:I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the descriptivists and postmodernists have convinced people that it never happened, that's what they're best at.
The best dictionaries always have been, then. I thought that much was obvious.

It's an effect of linguistics being a science: If you invent a rule about electrons and the electrons fail to follow it, do you whine and stamp your foot about how uncultured those electrons are? Perhaps, but a physicist wouldn't. A physicist would have the basic humility and intellectual honesty to observe electrons and revise the rules so they fit the observations. Language is the same. Add to that the inherent classism and racism of "prescriptivism" and you have the simple fact that prescriptivists are not linguists and have no business attempting to document language, which is what a dictionary is.
Derleth
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:16 am

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Killjoy » Fri May 22, 2020 4:28 pm

Derleth wrote:
Killjoy wrote:I guess it shouldn't surprise me that the descriptivists and postmodernists have convinced people that it never happened, that's what they're best at.
The best dictionaries always have been, then. I thought that much was obvious.

It's an effect of linguistics being a science: If you invent a rule about electrons and the electrons fail to follow it, do you whine and stamp your foot about how uncultured those electrons are? Perhaps, but a physicist wouldn't. A physicist would have the basic humility and intellectual honesty to observe electrons and revise the rules so they fit the observations. Language is the same. Add to that the inherent classism and racism of "prescriptivism" and you have the simple fact that prescriptivists are not linguists and have no business attempting to document language, which is what a dictionary is.


You have that backwards. The scientist deals with sorting objective facts from the chaff, the hard-descriptive linguist wallows in subjectivism. The function of language is to facilitate communication, the exchange of ideas and thoughts in as precise a manner as possible, pretending words mean whatever someone wants them to mean and that language rotting over time due to sloppy ignorant usage is perfectly natural and even a positive, interferes with that purpose, purple dishwater monkey falafel sideupways.

And I say it's more classist and racist to insist that people are incapable of learning the actual language because of where they're from or who their ancestors were.
Likes his women like he likes his coffee... a little sweet, a little spicy, a little strong, a little earthy, a little smokey, totally honest, and maybe a little offended by being compared to a beverage.
Killjoy
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:58 am

Re: 0135 - In which Caleb gets technical

Postby Herbert_W » Fri May 22, 2020 6:17 pm

I hope you don't mind me jumping into this conversation while it's running.

Killjoy wrote:The function of language is to facilitate communication, the exchange of ideas and thoughts in as precise a manner as possible


I'd like to make a "fixed that for you" quip, but the formatting used by this board doesn't seem to allow for strikethroughs, so underlining will have to do.

Precision isn't always the only important characteristic for a method of communication. Conciseness, emotive depth, evocativeness, and ease of use are often also important. The relative importance of these characteristics varies depending on context; scientific writing should be precise but need not be evocative, whereas an inspirational speech must be evocative but need not be precise. (Heck, there are even some contexts where precision is not just relatively unimportant, but downright detrimental. For example, the possibility of ambiguity creates opportunities for clever wordplay and double entendres.)

Adaptability is one such desirable characteristic, and it is one that is noteworthy as it is almost perfectly opposed to precision. Language adapts to suit the needs of its speakers - it changes both over time and between communities. New words and phrases arise, and old ones change meaning in ways both subtle and unsubtle, to encompass new concepts that people wish to express. A language with perfect precision - where every word will always and everywhere have exactly the same meaning - cannot adapt except by the cumbersome process of creating new words. On the other hand, a language with perfect adaptability would necessarily loose so much precision that it ceases to be useful as a language at all. Natural languages occupy a happy medium where they are precise enough to be useful and adaptable enough to remain useful as people's needs change.

This change is precisely that: it's a change. It is not, as you described it, "rot." Language has existed and has been changing for much much longer than dictionaries. The various languages spoken around the world today that descend from proto-indo-european bear very little resemblance to this distant common ancestor. If change over time necessarily represented rot, then language would have entirely rotted away by now. Yet, modern language remains expressive and remains capable of a great deal of precision.

Killjoy wrote:pretending words mean whatever someone wants them to mean


Nobody is pretending that, though. Words mean whatever people agree that they mean. The adaptation of language is something that happens in communities, not the whims of individuals. If I suddenly decide that "monkey" is a synonym for "dishwasher", then of course other people won't understand me. However, if some community decides that "monkey" is a playful slang term for "dishwasher," then that word will not only be understood well within that community but will also give them a way to playfully talk about kitchen appliances which they did not previously have.

Words can mean different things in different communities, and that's fine. The variability in the strictness of definition of words can also vary between communities, and that's also fine. For example, it is common for technical jargon to prioritize precision over adaptability. Technical fields often invent definitions for common words that are more narrow in scope than their conventional usage. For example, the word "energy" predates the scientific concept of energy, and the definition of the word "energy" as used in physics was inspired by yet is much narrower than that word's colloquial meaning. When a person says, for example, "My child has a lot of energy," that is not an alteration in the use of a scientific word - rather, the scientific sense of the word is an alteration of the colloquial one!

The distinction between "precision" and "accuracy" is an example of that, by the way. Both words derive from Latin roots that relate to working with forethought and care. Both connote a lack of error. The distinction between them, where precision connotes lack of random error specifically and accuracy connotes a lack of systematic error specifically, is a modern invention that was brought about by a new need to express a distinction which was previously glossed over.

I don't disagree with you entirely, though. Precision is important. There's a balance to be struck between all of the desirable characteristics that language may have, and I would prefer that people generally lean harder on the side of precision. However, insisting that precision must be maintained at the expense of all else is just silly.
Herbert_W
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 22, 2020 4:56 pm

Next

Return to Forward

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron