Re: c.d.theory lexicon overview

From: Alan <>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004 14:06:50 -0400
Message-ID: <c691jq$9d00o$>

I have not read your entire treatise (nor do I have time to, although it looks interesting), but here are my thoughts in general on the subject...

I think it is not possible (or correct) to declare that a particular word (e.g., function) have one and only one definition for the entire CS paradigm. A particular word has a correct meaning within its context, and the context assigns the meaning. Just like language. The problem occurs when a word is used incorrectly, but that happens in the normal use of any language. The solution is not to create more words to describe a specific idea in a specific context. An argument can be made that this only creates an opportunity for additional words to be used incorrectly. This idea is a quasi-corollary (just made that up) to William Safire's, "Never use a big word when a diminutive one will do." Or, another way to look at it, "You can lead a programmer to order, but you can't make him think" (apologies to Dorothy Parker).

Getting everyone to agree on and use specific terms is just about impossible, IMO. Back in the early 80s, I argued with a fellow video engineer about whether the word was "digitize" or "digitalize". I insisted on "digitize", because you are turning something into digits, not digitals. Looks like I won, but he is probably still trying to correct people. He was pretty stubborn.

"Senny" <> wrote in message news:8xThc.1341$
> Alan wrote:
> > Is that an abstract of your PhD. thesis?
> Nope. I'm done with college, and although I love theory, I rather dislike
> academia. (See Pascal's rants at for some of the
> salient reasons.)
> Actually, I came up with most of this stuff in my study (the local bar).
> course, reading a pile of linguistics books did help a bit.
> Any thoughts on the content? I'm especially at a loss about how to deal
> with the numerous meanings of _function_, since it's such an entrenched
> word in several camps.
> --Senny
Received on Thu Apr 22 2004 - 20:06:50 CEST

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