International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Chit Chat => Topic started by: KnotMe on September 10, 2014, 07:40:05 PM

Title: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 10, 2014, 07:40:05 PM
reposted from Google Plus (https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/113735071644470240986/113735071644470240986/posts/WydrYsSPyKR)

Because the name "Turk's Head" has always bothered me (if they wanted to be respectful, they probably would have gone with "turban" or something that didn't involve "head") I've been wanting to see if the Chinese naming offers anything less fraught.  To get that, we need more consensus though, unless I'm just looking in the wrong place.

Starting with the usual authority, Lydia Chen, in Chinese Knotting 3 (http://chineseknotting.org/book/#chen3), she presents a 5B4L TH and a 6B5L TH, but considers them variants on the double coin knot (http://chineseknotting.org/coin/howto2/) and so names them: 奇數圓複雙錢結 (even,  round, complex, double coin knot) and 偶數圓複雙錢結 (odd, round, complex, double coin knot)... I dunno but ocean plait and prolong knots are double coin variants but definitely not TH, so this just muddies the waters.

Trying a few other TH instructions I've found, there's 笼目结 (which translates as "cage head knot" which is an obvious translation from turk's head.  There's also "花股结" which is "flower strand/ply/stream knot" as well as "花箍結" which is "flower hoop/band knot" both of which sound like they're trying to address the flower-like appearance of the flat mat tightening as well as the hoop/band appearance of the cylinder tightening.  I'd almost want to add in the ball/sphere to the works to get huā gū qi? ji?.  8-)  Still that does not cover things like the cruciform TH or ...  Of course, TH doesn't really handle those cases as such either...  Flower-hoop knot?  Flower-stream knot?

French?  Spanish?  Etc?  Are they just translating "Turk's Head"?

Coming back to English and the definition of a TH there's cylindrical/tubular braid or woven ring.  It's too bad "manifold (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifold)" does not more closely match the specifics of the situation, because I love the word.   ;D  Ah, but diving down the math side of things... how about "Brunnian knots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunnian_braid)" ?  Look at the pictures, it's so close!   :D  Yah, I know, that would just add tons of confusion and noise to math concept searches... but that'd be good for them, and you too.  8-)
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: roo on September 10, 2014, 08:13:00 PM
Because the name "Turk's Head" has always bothered me...
Why does it bother you?
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Wed on September 10, 2014, 10:40:26 PM
In Swedish, it is "valknop".

The etymology is a bit ambiguous. The obvious and most straight forward translation would be whale knot.

"Valhaent" means fumble fingered or stiff dexterity. Relation to the knot? Who knows. But Hjalmar Oehrwall, in his book gives quite a few theories. I'm not going to write them here.

Paertkunta (Sw) is a round braid fastened on a rope. In this case the one hanging below a yard arm for sailors to stand on to reef the sails. Kuntorna is there so as to keep the feet from slipping. Basically: "Knuta" or "knut" = Knot. "Kunta" = big lump or actually the same as a Turks head knot (No relation at all to the same sounding English term).

That same book has two English quotations:
The Seamen?s Dictionary by sir Henry Manwayring, London A. D. 1670, 
Quote
There are two sorts of Knots, which are used at Sea, the one is a Bowline-knot ? ? The other is a waleknot, which is a round knot or knob, made with three strands of a rope, so that it cannot slip. The tacks, topfall-sheats and stoppers have these waleknots, and many other ropes.

The Seamen?s Grammar, written by Captain John Smith, sometimes Governor of Virginia and Admiral of New-England, Printed at London 1652:
Quote
The Wallknot, which is a round knob, so made with the strands or layes of a rope, [that] it cannot slip; the sheats and stoppers use this knot.

Conflict between the two definitions? What is now called in English, a wall knot seems to be what in Swedish is called "taljerepsknop" (inverted crown).

If politically correctness is a big issue, I suspect there are no shortage of cans of worms to open. Already before, attempts have been made to clean up the messy mass of terms used in this knotting business. The issue branches exponentially when you bring in the internationality of it all ...

For example: The Lapp knot is related to the scandinavian people up north. Once a perfectly good name. Now not politically correct at all. An English analogy would be using the "N-word" about African Americans. Should we thus rename the knot as the "Same knot"? Pronounced approximately like "Saah meh".

edit: sod the international support of this forum ...
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 10, 2014, 10:56:40 PM
Can you think of a scenario where the origin of that name is not a slur?

Because the name "Turk's Head" has always bothered me...
Why does it bother you?
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 10, 2014, 11:18:14 PM
In Swedish, it is "valknop".
cool.

Quote
If politically correctness is a big issue, I suspect there are no shortage of cans of worms to open. Already before, attempts have been made to clean up the messy mass of terms used in this knotting business. The issue branches exponentially when you bring in the internationality of it all ...
That's true, the whole 卍字結 (http://chineseknotting.org/overhand/sauvastika/) (sauvastika)/Buddha/10000 (https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/113735071644470240986/+Knottynotions/posts/4JYHnyV1rKC) knot thing is an East-West interaction issue that is not a problem in isolation.

Still, for such a large category/family of knots, it'd be nice to find a less troublesome name (Although if it's just me, nevermind and carry on.  :D ).

Quote
edit: sod the international support of this forum ...
?
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Wed on September 10, 2014, 11:26:31 PM

Quote
edit: sod the international support of this forum ...
?

https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet (https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet)

See those characters after z? They are not supported here.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 10, 2014, 11:35:31 PM
That's odd considering it's showing the Chinese.  I thought we had full Unicode support

?    ?    ?

I see the umlauts and ring.  Do you not?


https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet (https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet)

See those characters after z? They are not supported here.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: roo on September 10, 2014, 11:40:19 PM
Can you think of a scenario where the origin of that name is not a slur?
Yes of course;  I assume it's based on a similarity to traditional Turkish turbans.  I don't think the name means to imply that all Turks of all time periods wear turbans.

(http://www.millinerytechniques.com/images/Turban1.jpg)
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Wed on September 10, 2014, 11:48:47 PM
That's odd considering it's showing the Chinese.  I thought we had full Unicode support

?    ?    ?

I see the umlauts and ring.  Do you not?


https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet (https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svenska_alfabetet)

See those characters after z? They are not supported here.

In your post I see three question marks. My own post was fine in preview. But when posted, not so much. My system is UTF8 all the way through. The Chinese characters came through nicely though.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 11, 2014, 01:18:41 AM
Can you think of a scenario where the origin of that name is not a slur?
Yes of course;  I assume it's based on a similarity to traditional Turkish turbans.  I don't think the name means to imply that all Turks of all time periods wear turbans.

If that's the intended spirit, then perhaps we could correct their grammar and call them "Turban Knots".  :)
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 11, 2014, 01:23:16 AM
In your post I see three question marks. My own post was fine in preview. But when posted, not so much. My system is UTF8 all the way through. The Chinese characters came through nicely though.
Agreed.  I assumed when they showed properly in the preview that they would show similarly for posting.

Some experiments in French:  ? ? ? ? ?
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Wed on September 11, 2014, 01:41:00 AM
Can you think of a scenario where the origin of that name is not a slur?
Yes of course;  I assume it's based on a similarity to traditional Turkish turbans.  I don't think the name means to imply that all Turks of all time periods wear turbans.

If that's the intended spirit, then perhaps we could correct their grammar and call them "Turban Knots".  :)

For what it's worth. Before I learned the name of what I was tying, I called them round braids. Let's face it. That's what they are.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: roo on September 11, 2014, 01:45:55 AM
If that's the intended spirit, then perhaps we could correct their grammar and call them "Turban Knots".  :)
"Turban Knots" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  Maybe that's why Turk's Head became a preferred name.  Also, since Turk's Heads are almost always placed on something, it's more akin to a turban-wearer's head, fully adorned, than a turban viewed in isolation.

Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: capellagroup on September 11, 2014, 04:16:02 AM
Can you think of a scenario where the origin of that name is not a slur?

Because the name "Turk's Head" has always bothered me...
Why does it bother you?

I can't think of a scenario where the origin of that name IS a slur.

Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: 2Kenora on September 13, 2014, 05:26:50 AM
I dunno, ppl.  I work in the plumbing trade and we have such terms as "black nipples" and "petcocks" and nobody cracks a smile.
Perceptions change over time and popular terminology may conjure images in the mind that might be far from the original concept.  True that some were originally way off the mark (I can still recall seeing signs for "N* Babies black licorice 5 for a penny"). (AAACK!  I just dated myself!)
Perhaps someday the Clove Hitch will be perceived as the "Devil's Knot" and the Alpine Butterfly considered slanderous to all broad winged insects.  I don't mean to seem facetious.  On the contrary.  I understand your concern, Knotme, but is this the time?  Is the noble Turkshead (notice I didn't write it as "Turk's Head") to be the first to fall?  If so then perhaps the Chinese Button Knot should be next?  I mean, doesn't that provoke the thought that the Chinese only button their clothing with knotted bits of string?
Again, I dunno... for myself I'd never considered a TH knot to be derogatory to anyone of Turkish descent but popular culture and thinking may have moved past me and if that is the case then I will yield.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Stagehand on September 13, 2014, 08:10:49 AM
Thanks KnotMe for providing this subject.  I agree with your awareness and disagree with Roo's ignorance on this question.  Who will suggest the word was not born in 19th century Jingoism?  What did English sailors think of Ottomans? 
I like saying "Turks-head" in part because I admire things Turkish.  That does not make it right.
All Turks-head Knots are four-connected polyhedra.  All Turks-head Knots are polyhedra.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: Wed on September 13, 2014, 09:06:38 AM
Especially as the TH is a pretty knot. Had I been a Turk, I'd be proud of the name.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: KnotMe on September 13, 2014, 11:12:14 AM
...plumbing...
Many professions and crafts and such have terminology and linguistic traditions that occasionally cause troubles for some and not for others.  Just look at the names of some major league sports teams.  But we're not here to solve all the world's problems, we're just here to talk about knots.   :D

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Perhaps someday ... the Alpine Butterfly considered slanderous to all broad winged insects.    I don't mean to seem facetious
Really?   :o

Quote
I understand your concern, Knotme, but is this the time?
Seemed like the time, that's why I brought it up.

Quote
Is the noble Turkshead (notice I didn't write it as "Turk's Head") to be the first to fall?  If so then perhaps the Chinese Button Knot should be next?
Speaking as someone of Chinese descent, I'm pretty sure we are fond if not proud of the "Chinese Button Knot".  Conversely, I would be very interested in the opinion of someone of Turkish descent on "Turk's Head" knots.  Or, indeed, anyone of a cultural tradition that wears turbans like, say, Sikhs.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: oldpete on September 13, 2014, 04:33:35 PM
Question. If we get rid of the term 'turkshead' should I throw out all the books that mention it, including ABOK ? What about the Eskimo loop should that be renamed.  To me this is PC gone wrong.
Title: Re: renaming turks heads
Post by: capellagroup on September 15, 2014, 06:42:19 AM
Full marks.  Let sleeping Turks lie, I say.