Re: Yahoo has no staff tech writers

Subject: Re: Yahoo has no staff tech writers
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 20:46:27 -0700

Kevin McLauchlan wrote:

Leading by quiet, competent, *consistent* example.

I don't know. Do you think anyone is looking for an example, or would know one when they saw it? I suspect that most users are too focused on getting the information they need to notice a good example - although they may curse a bad one.

Not every abberation sticks. I'm not saying I support a cast-in-resin, line-in-the-sand approach. I'm saying that we should be thoughtful about this stuff, and pick our battles. In many cases, nothing is lost and something is gained when we modify how we use a word.

But, in other cases, information or utility is lost, and it is worth attempting to stave off such losses.

My view is that languages are subject to the general mechanisms of evolution. A word is like an adaptation - it survives for any length of time if it's truly useful,or at least neutral in its effect. The more unclear or unnecessary a word is, the more likely it will disappear. So I'm not too concerned about uses of the language that are ugly or unclear.

Of course, it helps that English is so rich in synonyms that few words are truly unique.

When the onlookers are inattentive, or dull, it can be an effective arguing tactic to paint the other person's position as extreme and unyeilding.

I was responding to your last post - not this one. Your last post certainly did seem extreme and unyielding.

But then, I could come back and suggest that you would have no problem with the recent epidemic of "grammar overcorrection", where easily-led people are so fearful of INcorrectly saying "Johnny and me will do it.", that they say things like "The teacher invited John and I to stay after the speech." I'm hearing that kind of nonsense from TV anchors.... Canadian TV, fergawdsake!

My only objection is that it's not very clear. A different word for the nominative and objective pronoun seems a useful thing to have. I probably wouldn't follow the practice myself for that reason - at least, not right now.

However,I'm not especially upset at the thought that, if enough people started using "I" for "me," then that would become the norm, at least in some variants. If that ever happened (and, for reasons of utility, I doubt that it will), I'd have to adjust to make myself understood.

That doesn't disturb me. I already screen my vocabulary considerably when I speak, because many of the words I know and use when writing would sound stilted if I spoke them. So, one more adjustment wouldn't bother me.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say, 'You must take me while you may,
If you'd go to Mother Carey (Walk her round to Mother Carey!)
We're bound to Mother Carey where she feeds her chicks at sea!'"
- Rudyard Kipling, "Anchor Song"

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RE: Yahoo has no staff tech writers: From: John Posada
Re: Yahoo has no staff tech writers: From: Kevin McLauchlan
Re: Yahoo has no staff tech writers: From: Bruce Byfield
Re: Yahoo has no staff tech writers: From: Kevin McLauchlan

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