Gavin Doig on 12 Feb 2002 17:09:41 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

RE: spoon-discuss: Re: spoon-business: CFJ: Opening the floodgates

> > Well... so what? Those are different words (which happen to 
> > be spelt the same), 
> Yes, and the important thing is that the only way you know
> which of the words I mean is because I made sure to make it
> clear which definition I was referring to.  In contrast, the rules
> do not make it clear which definition of "proposal" is equivalent
> to "proosal", nor what any of the definitions of "proosal" are, or
> how many there may be.  For all we know, "proosal" could be
> equivalent to every other word in the English language as well.
But the rule doesn't say that one meaning of "proposal" is equivalent to "proosal", or that "proposal means proosal". They say that the 2 terms are equivalent - wherever you see "proosal", treat it as "proposal", or vice versa. It's operating at a syntactic level, not a semantic one. So saying "proosal proosal proosal" is, as far as the rules are concerned, just the same as saying "proposal proposal proposal". It's the very opposite of a synonym: effectively, it's making "proosal" and "proposal" different spellings of the same word.

> > and anyway your argument is irrelevant - 
> > to be relevant, you'd need to be saying that "lead" (pron. 
> > leed) the verb is synonymous with "direct" the verb, but 
> > "direct" the verb is not synonymous with "lead" (pron. leed) 
> > the verb. 
> > 
> > Not that we're dealing with the written word, in general - 
> > we're only dealing with the rules.
> Yes, but the rules are communicated solely by the written word. 
> For words occurring in the dictionary and/or common English
> usage we have context to guide us toward understanding of the
> meaning, but for made-up words, there is no such context, and
> therefore no clear meaning.  
Well, exactly. Thus, we must rely on the rules. The rules say that "proosal" is interchangeable with "proposal".

> > Well, you could make an argument that they're precisely 
> > equivalent in use, but one is superior in aesthetics. 
> You could also argue that one is superior in meaning, 
No, I don't think you could. I don't think "superior in meaning" is a meaningful term.

> in which case the point of conflict is entirely relevant.
> The rules *do* care what the words mean.
And even if "superior in meaning" is meaningful, the rules care about *what* words mean, not about how well they mean them. If one word means the same thing as another, but means it "better", I don't see anything in the rules that prevents the less-well-meant word from working just fine.

> Because we have a made-up word, and the rule is not
> clear on what it means to be the substance of the
> equivalence between these two words, or the manner
> in which one is superior to the other, any number of
> interpretations can apply.
Maybe they can, but as you argue above, we should use standard interpretation for "equivalent", and I don't see how one word being superior (in whatever sense) to another affects the rules in any way.


Sign-up for your own FREE Personalized E-mail at

Win a ski trip!