Author Topic: The language of what we do  (Read 22429 times)

squarerigger

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The language of what we do
« on: December 13, 2010, 03:47:58 AM »
About twelve months ago (all right, eleven months) we had this particular challenge thrown down by Derek Smith, aka "The Dunny Man" (not sure how he relates that to his activities here but that is probably another story!):

Quote
There you have it.  I have driven the standard into the ground, thrown down the gauntlet and nailed my colours to the mast.

Let the lexicon of Knotology begin  -  January 2010

 The post is now aged and I therefore propose to resurrect its challenge that was never successfully resolved.  In an effort to come up with a language that is unambiguous, comprehensive and comprehensible I have looked at past posts on this and other forum postings that skirt or touch lightly on the subject, but again are inconclusive.  We have discovered that existing terms have ambiguities e.g. what is a knot, what is a bight, what is a turn, where does a nip start and finish, etc.  I am not proposing in this post to re-examine those terms because it appears they are ambiguous and therefore subject to a lot of argument and discussion without useful resolution.  Mathematical terms frighten the bejasus out of many folks and as for chemistry (shudder!) - we cannot even comprehend that salt is not salt but instead a mixture of sodium, chlorine, some iodine, possibly some potassium and who knows what anti-caking agents - and I thought it was just salt!  What to do this thing?

I sat and looked at knots (pardon my initial term of abusage - we will eventually move this term aside in favor of TECHNICAL terms) from the viewpoint of a child or someone trying to understand how to make something.  For carpentry we have a drawing, usually orthographic and it describes in three dimensions the scope, shape and view of the object of our desire, likely adding something about wood chooices, finishes etc.  For basket-weaving, we have bases, numbers of verticals, horizontal weaving patterns, presence or absence of lid or other fitting such as handles, and again something about whether this is wicker, pine needles, rushes or what-have-you.  In sewing and knitting we have certain stitches that are known by a name, and also by a shorthand, so that we are aware of the next move, once again with yarn or thread type, color, length or weight.  What do we have with knotting or tying?

First we have one piece or more of a flexible stuff we shall call string, cord, line, rope or cable according to arbitrary and sometimes capricious 'rules' of usage.  Let's all agree to just call it line, for reasons that will become evident.  Line when used for tying or knotting something, whether to another line, to an object or to itself, is manipulated by means of various different moves.  Children learn this as 'gozovers, gozunders, makes railway tracks' and so on.  Let's take that simple start and talk about:

What we want the line to do
Whether there is only one or more than one piece of line
Whether there is another object involved (spar, carabiner, tree, etc.)
What directions the line must take to achieve the 'knotting' or 'tying' i.e. what we want the line to perform to do the job
These, then, are the line descriptors or names for the directions the line is to take:

An unchanged piece of line is a straight line
A line that is going to go over or under something else is a wave line
A line that is not a straight line is a bent line and necessarily also possibly a wave, although not exclusively
A line that goes around something is a curve line and necessarily also possibly a bent, although not exclusively
A line that wraps around something is a trap line and necessarily also possibly a wave, bent or curve, although not exclusively
A line that parallels something else is a track line
A line that covers something is a cover line

There we have it - names that define line actions unambiguously (we can add a degree of curve, wave, trap or whatever), that can be given direction (either through orthography as x, y, z coupled with degrees or vectors) and length.  It should then suffice to name the type, thickness, color or other descriptor of line and you have a TECHNICAL (albeit theoretical) description that may have some merits in becoming a definition.  It also has the bonus of being somewhat comprehensible to the newcomer and thence being more useful and more widespread - lacking past knotting and tying usage and with only itself to commend itself to us

Thoughts?

SR

SS369

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2010, 03:59:07 AM »
I like this idea and would like to use the x,y & z position markers. If we here can vote and adopt a "standard" then it could ripple out.

"A line that wraps around something is a trap line and necessarily also possibly a wave, bent or curve, although not exclusively"
A line that wraps around something is a WRAP line and necessarily also possibly a wave, bent or curve, although not exclusively makes more sense to me.

Or was the original word a typo?

Scott

Wed

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 04:54:51 AM »
I CAD a bit, and do vector illustrations. I understand the importance of clear definitions. I suppose programmers also define knots by a certain set of rules. The history have indeed come up with a lot of ambiguity. I find the idea interesting, but nothing more. I am REALLY intrigued by the translation (one of my trades is as a translator) to each native language though.

The chemistry analogy is very valid, but then there is an academic worldwide cooperation that necessitates a common language convention.

From Machiavelli (the Prince), we learn that without a clean break from the past, it is really difficult to introduce new concepts. For example, imperial units are still in use to this day.

squarerigger

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 06:04:12 AM »
Thanks Wed and Scott,

So, positive for a break from the past and also a hint at a possible scenario for describing movement - good!

I did deliberately choose the word 'trap' so that we can denote a line trapping something and holding on to it by wrapping around it.  The word 'wrap' can be typographically confused as 'warp' whereas the word 'trap' has a unique quality, like the phonetic alphabet used by military and civilian users, to both sound and be written in only one comprehensible way (unless it is written 'part' or 'prat' I guess, neither of which make any sense in this context).  I am up for a vote on it if needed but having explained my reasoning how does it sound now?

SR

Sweeney

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 10:30:40 AM »
Whilst I can see a very laudable aim here it is not Forum members or Guild members who actually matter - we form an insignificant minority I'm afraid - so by all means enjoy the exercise but I am as convinced as I was a year ago that this will fade away in about 3 months or less simply because you cannot change language this way no matter how imprecise or ambiguous it may be unless there is a demand from a wide community to do so - and then the changes are introduced by actual usage not by some kind of theoretical discussion. And the people who actually use knots (not talk about them as they don't need to) are not like chemists or other scientists since they have neither desire nor need to talk to the rest of the world. Enjoy while it lasts though.

Barry

squarerigger

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 04:36:43 PM »
A large bucket of cold water having been thrown over the errant beings, they slink away into their miserable hovels to consider other discussions - peace!

SR

SS369

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2010, 05:19:20 PM »
Cold water plunging/showering has been known to cause invigorating results.
Not all shrivel and run away.
(-.-)

SS

squarerigger

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 06:09:55 PM »
Of course not SS!  The fact is that I misread the post - this post is not intended to discuss what the GP (General Public) use as a language for knots - there may be some who decide they want to stay in the past or even the present but I would like to look to the future.  How do we knot-tyers discuss knotting when we have a dysfunctional language?  We should (and I will) continue the discussion to find a different knotting language on which we can agree worldwide!   :-*

SR

SS369

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 06:17:20 PM »
Lindsey,
Not that I am stuck in a trap, but would the word coil instead of trap or wrap be more to our liking?

Ex: Take the line, coil the static part, then proceed to tighten.

Anyone?


squarerigger

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 06:34:13 PM »
Hi Scott,

Again, coil is an excellent word but forms part of our existing lexicon and actually introduces something for which you have had to provide clarification by stating 'proceed to tighten'.  I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water but I would like to remove associations with prior language so as to make for a language that is unambiguous (not that coil is terribly ambiguous) because we then define it to be what we know, rather than have some association with prior use (and hence have a possibility of confusion).  I understand, I think, what you are saying with 'coil' but it does not connote any degree of tightness that the word trap does and it is therefore essential to describe what further has to happen with the rather loose connotation of coil.  "Trap" already connotes some degree of tightness in my mind.

Your and others thoughts?

SR

DerekSmith

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 06:51:06 PM »
snip...   it is not Forum members or Guild members who actually matter - we form an insignificant minority I'm afraid - so by all means enjoy the exercise but I am as convinced as I was a year ago that this will fade away in about 3 months or less simply because you cannot change language this way
snip...
Barry

I disagree with Barry - it is ONLY we here that matter - because we are the only ones who care enough to sort this mess out.

However, it matters little what I think because Barry has now put the Black Spot onto this thread, just as he did onto my earlier thread which died exactly as he condemned it to.  The fate of this thread is now sealed - just 3 months max to reach any conclusion - so we had all better go some to pack in content in the allocated life of this thread.

One good thing, I notice Lindsey that whereas the first post was a Lexicon of Nodology, we have now broken the challenge into two - recently Xarax's topic on 'Essential parts of a knot', and now this one on essentially 'How we make them' - the strategy of dividing the field into more manageable chunks is surely in our favour against the dark forces of Sweeney Todd.

As for the AKA "The Dunny Man", yes that is another story that I might bore you all with at some later date.

Derek

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 06:55:12 PM »
Hi Scott,

Again, coil is an excellent word but forms part of our existing lexicon and actually introduces something for which you have had to provide clarification by stating 'proceed to tighten'.  I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water but I would like to remove associations with prior language so as to make for a language that is unambiguous (not that coil is terribly ambiguous) because we then define it to be what we know, rather than have some association with prior use (and hence have a possibility of confusion).  I understand, I think, what you are saying with 'coil' but it does not connote any degree of tightness that the word trap does and it is therefore essential to describe what further has to happen with the rather loose connotation of coil.  "Trap" already connotes some degree of tightness in my mind.

Your and others thoughts?

SR

If you are not going to use existing words, then you might find the challenge very hard as by definition every word in existence already has a definition...

Derek

SS369

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 07:06:38 PM »
Actually I was just throwing it in a sentence and not trying to limit the usage.  "Coil" could be stand alone or used the way we've used "round turn", etc., loose or tight.

I'm not trying to champion the term nor push for its adoption. I want to engage this topic because there ie/has been a pile of ambiguity (for me!) and terms should be clearer than mud.

As for trap, the mental picture is clear now though I just think it lacks something. (Again to me!) Maybe it is the Jurassic connection still.

And it is for here only that I consider relevant right now till we've hit the mark and have the interested people on board.
IMHO: it should be easier for some if not all the members to follow the various thread's descriptions, without consulting a dictionary or check list.

?

Sweeney

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 07:07:46 PM »
How do we knot-tyers discuss knotting when we have a dysfunctional language?  We should (and I will) continue the discussion to find a different knotting language on which we can agree worldwide!   :-*

Although I remain as cynical as ever about this, on the positive side a free flowing discussion, though useful, has to have a structured lexicon somewhere so that if there is ever agreement on a word or term it can be recorded (and of course changed, replaced etc) such that a newcomer to the discussion as well as those at the heart of it can see where this has reached without having to wade through what could be a huge amount of text, much of it no longer relevant having been overtaken by wise words later. Nothing techie or complicated, just a term and its agreed (or even postulated) meaning in an easily accessible form (a simple PDF file for example) - and that needs a ringmaster to keep track. I'm sure we can find a corner of the website to store such a file as well as including a printed version in KM occasionally for the benefit of the wider membership as well as involving them. You never know it might even outlast 3 months....!

Barry

squarerigger

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Re: The language of what we do
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2010, 07:25:15 PM »
Well, I like the idea of having a lexicon that can be consulted in some corner of a field and I for one am willing to champion such a list.  Thinking positively we can start by taking suggestions for technical definitions of the actions taken when tying.  Let's go for the gold and set two months, three weeks and six days as the limit (allowing some slack for holidays and so on)!
SR