Author Topic: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!  (Read 35138 times)

Dan_Lehman

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Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« on: January 06, 2010, 06:59:22 PM »
The difficulties of talking about knots & knotting --even of naming
knots & knot parts-- continually frustrate efforts to understand the
topic.  Here, let's review the extant definitions, such as we find them,
and see how we might step beyond the problems encountered with
them.

In this endeavor, (as I wrote elsewhere) let not Perfection be the bane
of Good.  We need to take stock of how best to conceive/categorize things,
in developing a nomenclature, and not to fear fuzzy boundaries entirely.
We should put forward what definitions we can find, for critique and to be
a launching point (or point of information) to our effort to develop some
better nomenclature(s).

Ashley's Book of Knots (ABOK) will have explicit definitions and I think
some implicit ones (with particular uses within the text); other texts will
have such things similarly (much will be derivative echoing).  I have the
Cordage Institute's technical manual, and another uncommon book or few,
with definitions.  Other people likely have more extensive libraries
and then there is Net searching, for further fodder (much echoing here!).

None of which I take as "carved in stone" and immutable or necessary,
though likely some prior definitions will work well enough.

--dl*
====
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 07:21:40 PM by Dan_Lehman »

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 07:44:25 PM »
The immediate impetus to starting this thread (so belatedly, yes) was the
debate about what constitutes a "splice".  One can add to this issue the
similar one of how to distinguish "lashing" from "seizing" from "whipping"
-- there can be identical structures of the "<x>"ing material in different
circumstances (e.g., Common Whipping structure applied to a pair of
ropes to bind them); what should best make the distinction (if indeed
a distinction is worth making)?!

Then there is the problem of "turn" vs. "round turn":  typically these
denote 180deg & 540 (=180+360)deg turns; so what should one
call something in-between, such as a simple wrap of a boundary line
on some stake?  Here, we might see a way to constrain the use of
historical terms to well-bounded circumstances (where the in-between
doesn't arise), and establish some new term that incorporates the
exact degree for uses elsewhere (e.g., "a 720deg-turn").

"Bight" is used in odd ways.  Nautically, it apparently connotes some
slight concavity in a shoreline -- hardly the sort of image that
leads to either of its cordage-wise uses:  a sharp fold, or essentially
no fold at all but just some in-between-"SPart"/"end" position !
I'm going to venture that the former definition might be safely
lost to a new term that means "without an end", and the main
latter definition will be for a hard-folded, "doubled" structure (w/o
much attention to whether its ends ever cross (heretofore the mark
of a "loop").  Tying something "with a bight" can be easily seen
as making the <whatever> (e.g., Overhand knot) with a bight vs.
single strand, and thus ending up with two ends opposite an eye.
The Butterfly knot is not so well described, esp. by Alpineer's
nifty quick method of tying; that would go to the new term, of
"without ends".

"Loop" is so overloaded, I try to avoid it.  Vice "loop knot" I've
used "eye knot" -- as I think that "eye" is pretty broadly understood
and without confounding additional connotations.  One sense of
distinction connotatively between "loop"/"bight" I feel is that the
loop is more round & brief, the bight elongated with a "tip" or
"bight-end" (and, again, not a matter of (un)crossed ends).

Knot names are a well-established chaos, against which one should
not expend much effort.  However, it seems worthwhile at least to
try to stem a furthering of the chaos at least in some cases:  e.g.,
arborists sadly have come to see the "Fisherman's knot" as the
Scaffold knot" aka "Strangle Noose-hitch" or "Poacher's Knot"
-- with implied rationale that the "Double Fish." being this knot
with two such dbl.Overhand (Strangle) parts, and the latter has
just one, so ... .  Given the well-established names here, it's worth
the effort to kill this particularly bone-headed addition, both for
the gratuitous new use of the name, and the rationale for it (which
rationale is not good -- not a good one to use, i.e.).

Where more precise naming can be established, IMO, is only in
some technical jargon, where likely long-winded, cumbersome,
and digits-employing identifiers might be established for use by
knots-focused study to be precise.

--dl*
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squarerigger

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 09:47:20 PM »
Hi Dan,

What a good idea!  Before we go chasing off to find some knot nomenclature, however, could we talk about the target audience?  A child may see "potty" as a perfectly good descriptor of a place or an action, whereas a physician may envision "the act of moving the bowels to produce fecal matter" as entirely more appropriate and then again a parent may envision the expression of "going to the bathroom" as the appropriate language.  So it could (and likely will) be for knotting.  If we are envisioning an audience of mature adults are we also envisioning an audience of practised adults or those with no prior knowledge?  For some adults who have long practised the art or skill of knotting, they may see the use of bight as a rather loose term, as indeed you have done.  For others it is the notion of some curvature or perhaps even a vague region in the line and, as yet, they may not even see a need to classify it.

To start the ball rolling how about trying the following:

Standing end:  The end of the rope that does not have the knot in it (Wikipedia)
Working end:  The part of the line that is moved, to make the shape we need for the knot we want to make (PAB Knots 101)
Standing part:  The inactive part of the line, as opposed to the end and bight (Ashley); that part of a rope around which the end is worked in tying knots and other ropework (Lenfesty)
Working part:  No definition found
Loop:  A shape produced by a curve that bends round and crosses itself (Concise OED); a line crossing itself once (PAB Knots 101)
Bight:  A loop of rope (Concise OED); one part of a line that does not cross itself (PAB Knots 101); any slack part of a rope between the two ends, particularly when curved or looped (Ashley); a bend or loop in a line or cable (Lenfesty)

From this brief sojourn it appears to be somewhat like defining pornography - we know it when we see it?  There are some very confusing definitions out there, so I can see there is a real need for such definitions.

SR

Sweeney

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 11:18:16 AM »
I am all for sensible nomenclature - it is a struggle to index Ashley when so many knots have only a description which, without the drawing, is pretty meaningless. And I think that therein lies at least part of the answer. Like the elephant in the garden picking cabbages with its tail a knot is a difficult thing to describe but we all know one when we see it. So any attempt to describe knots or parts of knots needs a diagram or other graphic depiction. A "potty"  is immediately recognisable and found by any of its names (known in cockney rhyming slang as an Edgar Allen (Poe is an English term for one), aka a "gesunder" as it goes under the bed (you have to say it to make sense). So if I call a bowline by some obscure (and probably ridiculous) name it matters not as long as I can relate my name to a picture where I can then see everyone else's name (including in bold the most accepted one?). But like all such ideas puuting it into practice needs time and effort both of which seem to be perennially in short supply. Perhaps we could start a web page with some easy ones such as the list Lindsey drew up and invite contributions? We would need an editor and perhaps operate a bit like Wikipedia?

Barry

Wed

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 07:32:25 PM »
This solution has my vote at least.

I guess there are plenty more to solve, but it's a start. And to all this there is also all the different languages to apply this to. As you mention chemistry, many names are abbreviations of Latin or Greek names. I don't propose to make use of those languages. But I must admit, being an avid forum reader and internet user, quite a few of the knots I tye, I only know the English name for. Even though I am Swedish. English is an excellent language, and probably more widespread than Esperanto. But I doubt that everyone will adopt a foreign language.

To the best of my knowledge so far, no better scalable system has come forth. I am interested to see where this goes. By the way, are you a computer programmer? Your syntax seems very well defined.

SS369

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 01:02:03 AM »
Just another idea for pondering:
Perhaps using the only truly "universal language" that I know of, numbers.
If there comes a grid of acceptance that uses three dimensions, such as x,y and z (or their numerical equivalents), all knots could be plotted and archived. Then the various names could be reference by their names in whatever language is chosen (all) and at least there would be a "master list" that anyone could refer to.

imho there are just too many names for each knot and in one just language at that.

If we are truly trying to move towards that universal nomenclature then it seems that numerical descriptions will be the way of the future.

It does also seem that the use of plotting software will come into play if this idea is of any use.

If the knot was drawn in a CAD program (freehand?) what would the information/data look like?

Just knowing or communicating the difference between a turn and a round turn delves into confusion for some. Why has this been the accepted wording for a half wrap or full wrap of the cordage or core?

I personally have always loved the nautical "flavor" to the names we've grown accustomed to, but I see the future, if we are to keep this knowledge afloat, evolving to incorporate more universal and perhaps attractive names, parts and all.
If it can be done.


Two cents.

SS

Wed

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 02:25:42 AM »
I agree with numbers holding the most common denominator of all. It even solves the linguistic challenge. The man in the street, might have something to say about it though. I foresee one healthy setup of cross referencing tables. But viable.

squarerigger

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 07:23:16 PM »
Derek,

Just to clarify something here - are we talking now of parts of knots or of knots as a complete object (function)?  Naming a knot seems to be an area fraught with language difficulties as mentioned already, not only because of differing languages around the world, but also because of history.  If we are speaking of parts of knots, does this mean how to build a knot or what it looks like in its dressed or partially formed appearance?  If we are speaking of how to make a knot, then there really needs to be a set of basic terms that describe the movement of a working end or of a bight - hence really only two parts to be dealt with at any one time.  Direction would be natural to assume as a direction from the tyer's viewpoint, including rotating the knot, or the viewpoint, when needed to gain access to a different area of the knot, or of the object to which it is tied.  This seems to be a simpler way of addressing the parts which, I think, came out of a question as to what a hole in a knot was called.  The differences of which you and Dan have spoken are significant when differentiating between two versions of tying the same thing - i.e. is it a turn or is it a round turn.  Chemical notation seems to me to be using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.....

SR

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 01:40:26 AM »
The difficulties of talking about knots & knotting --even of naming
knots & knot parts-- continually frustrate efforts to understand the
topic.  Here, let's review the extant definitions, such as we find them,
and see how we might step beyond the problems encountered with
them.

...

--dl*
====

@SR
I take it from Dan's opening post (and I hope) that he means for us to ...

... "review the extant definitions, such as we find them, and see how
 we might step beyond the problems encountered with them."
  Rather than,
and quite in contrast to, jumping blindly into some fabrication from the
ground up or ether down, absent the groundwork analysis.  (So, I'll
spare critiquing the contradictions of the unwanted-at-this-stage proposals.)
Perhaps I should be explicit:  "to present here the extant definitions ...".

There are several people in some group called "the IGKT" --and elsewhere--
with reach into literature that contains definitions of things pertinent to
knotting; let's present these and see what's what, analyze the conceptions.
(I stand on tap for delivering The Cordage Institute's collected definitions;
I can also reach CLDay's from The Art of Knotting & Splicing

--dl*
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Sweeney

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2010, 09:50:50 AM »
I agree with numbers holding the most common denominator of all. It even solves the linguistic challenge. The man in the street, might have something to say about it though. I foresee one healthy setup of cross referencing tables. But viable.

I think that this short statement says it all. We can think up all sorts of definitions and systems from the incredibly complex to the very basic but at the end of the day and to cover at least the majority of users be they expert or novice we need to have a means of accessing all nomenclatures via cross referencing. All we need is somebody to lead and a lot of people to put in some effort. And that nice Mr Ashley gave us a set of numbers to start with but I think I've said that before..............

Barry

DerekSmith

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2010, 09:52:26 AM »
Apologies Dan, I misunderstood you intentions with this thread.

I have removed the "contradictions of the unwanted-at-this-stage proposals" to clear the thread for the analysis as you intend it.

@SR -- it seems you were correct and hammers of any size are not the order of this thread, more a case of careful (almost archaeological like) sifting of the extant information.

Derek

squarerigger

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2010, 03:57:39 AM »
To continue with definitions:

Why not start with standing part.  There are at least three somewhat opposing definitions:

The inactive part of the line, as opposed to the end and bight (Ashley);
That part of a rope around which the end is worked in tying knots and other ropework (Lenfesty)
The part of the line that generally stays still, while we do something with the other end (PAB Knots 101)


Ashley's description seems to me to be taking the negative route (it is the opposite of whatever it is not), which hardly seems too defining - he could be referring to a coil of line, after all.  Lenfesty seems to me to be getting closer to an ideal.  Can anyone offer a way in which Lenfesty's description could be mis-read or otherwise interpreted?  As for PAB's Knots 101, it seems a bit folksy and not like a definition at all but a description.  Let's hear from you and let's try to settle on one way in which we could all feel happy about the defining moment....

SR

DerekSmith

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 09:37:07 AM »
From the Samson Rope Glossary  http://www.ropeinc.com/rope-glossary-terms.html


Standing Part - The main part of the rope not in the knot itself, the rope not being tied is the standing part.

Standing Rigging ? Rigging holding up the masts that is usually not adjusted while sailing.

---------------------------------

From The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea  | 2006

standing part, that part of the rope used in a purchase, the end of which is secured to the eye of the standing block. The part of the rope between the standing and the moving blocks is the running part, and the remainder, as it comes out of the purchase, is the hauling part. The whole of the rope is known as the fall.

------------------------------------------

From the free dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Standing+part

(Naut.)    That part of a tackle which is made fast to a block, point, or other object
   That part of a rope around which turns are taken with the running part in making a knot or the like.

From wikipedia

Standing end
The end of the rope not involved in making the knot, often shown as unfinished.

Standing part
Section of line between knot and the standing end (seen above).

---------------------------------------

From Mimi  http://en.mimi.hu/boating/standing_part.html

STANDING PART - That part of a rope which is tied.

Standing PartThat part of a line which is made fast. The main part of a line as distinguished from the bight and the end.

Standing Part - The part permanently made fast to something, and not hauled upon. In cordage or lines it's the standing end is the opposite of the running end. The main part of a line as distinguished from the bight and the end.

standing part The portion of a line not used in making a knot.
standing rigging The permanent shrouds and stays; rigging used mainly to hold up the mast and take the strain of the sails.

-----------------------------------------------------

They all seem to imply yet fail to state, that it is the part of the cordage doing work - i.e. under load.

Derek

DerekSmith

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2010, 09:40:47 AM »
Interesting version - suggesting that the SP is the part that stays still while at work

     2. Not flowing; stagnant; as, standing water.
        [1913 Webster]
 
     3. Not transitory; not liable to fade or vanish; lasting; as,
        a standing color.
        [1913 Webster]

From online dictionary  http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/standing+part

SS369

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Re: Knotting Nomenclature -- How/What are we talking about?!
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2010, 02:28:31 PM »
So if you have a cord that has stopper knots at each end and the purpose is to limit the movement of to items (both move), which then is the standing end?

Working end seems to be a fairly good enough term for it is used in the tying if the knot. To me that is the work of that end during the tying and I consider the knot to be the main part of what is doing some work involving the cordage.

It seems to me that a term such as "main or primary line" or "bulk line" or "parent line" paints a better visual picture, at least for me.

2 cents again

SS