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knightmare
1038078.  Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:58 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
I would suggest it is analogous to refering to a container as a "tin" when the item itself is actually made of steel or aluminium.


Exactly, real use (i.e. not just a dictionary) counts, even if the experts have a technical reason to complain. The chalk (QI pilot?) also is a good example. In this case the product was changed, lead was replaced by graphite and clay, but the language hasn't evolved

I'm not sure if anybody is advocating that a modern pencil has nothing to do with lead, the former material...

 
CharliesDragon
1038079.  Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:59 pm Reply with quote

And in Norwegian it's "blyant." "Bly" means "lead," as in the metal.

 
knightmare
1038080.  Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:06 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
And in Norwegian it's "blyant." "Bly" means "lead," as in the metal.


I also like the German word bleifrei, lead-free. And there's a strange job description in the Netherlands: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/potloodventer

 
WordLover
1038133.  Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:49 am Reply with quote

.....


Last edited by WordLover on Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
chrisboote
1038153.  Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:13 am Reply with quote

knightmare wrote:
Quote:
And in Norwegian it's "blyant." "Bly" means "lead," as in the metal.


I also like the German word bleifrei, lead-free. And there's a strange job description in the Netherlands: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/potloodventer

I hardly think that's a job, surely? More of a hobby?

 
djgordy
1038183.  Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:16 am Reply with quote

knightmare wrote:
If the dictionary is right, of course. The main goal of the dictionary is to make clear what the word pencil means. Accuracy of descriptions is not a goal of a dictionary. Obviously there are more phrases and saying based on a wrong object or material, and just graphite also isn't accurate, so this meaning of lead will be right too. Has it ever really rained cats and dogs?


Words, I would suggest, don't have "meanings", they have usage. Dictionaries, in Britain at least, reflect usage; if everyone uses a word in a certain way, that is what the word "means".

 
dr bartolo
1038192.  Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:47 am Reply with quote

Sticking with graphite...
As a result of the high cost of the graphite used in early lead pencils, there apparently was a flourishing trade in sham pencils. Some of those pencils contained only an inch or so of graphite within them, the rest being wood. Other more audacious examples were merely sharpened sticks with their ends blackened to imitate lead.


With regards to metallic lead, the best, if not the only white oil paint was made from lead carbonate-- 'ceruse'. This was made by fermenting strips of metallic lead in pots of vinegar, exposed to piles of rotting horse manure. Although the pigment was no longer manufactured thus, it appears to have been banned in recent years. This has caused much upset amongst artists

 
Marsupial Bob
1038345.  Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:58 pm Reply with quote

dr bartolo wrote:

With regards to metallic lead, the best, if not the only white oil paint was made from lead carbonate-- 'ceruse'. This was made by fermenting strips of metallic lead in pots of vinegar, exposed to piles of rotting horse manure. Although the pigment was no longer manufactured thus, it appears to have been banned in recent years. This has caused much upset amongst artists


Lead white artists' paints aren't banned so far as I am aware, at least in the EU/UK/USA. The problem is mainly that lead white has been banned for essentially every application except artists' oil paints, so it is no longer profitable for anyone to make it. Which, in turn, has put most of the suppliers out of business and sent the prices for the remaining suppliers through the roof.

So not banned, just ridiculously expensive and hard to find.

 
PDR
1038414.  Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:52 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:

Words, I would suggest, don't have "meanings", they have usage.


Ah.

"Your honour, when my client wrote that Lord Abovereproach was a pedophile nazi he was employiong the local usage of the words, in which 'pedophile' merely means one who likes and cares for children, and 'nazi' means a person of wit and wisdom. Clearly there was no intention to libel his lofrdship, and I move for a summary finding to that effect."

Good luck with that one!

PDR

 
knightmare
1038422.  Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:25 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Words, I would suggest, don't have "meanings", they have usage.


It was about a dictionary, it wasn't about words. I pointed out to the editors of a foreign dictionary that the descriptions of the word "directory" (computer science) were all technically wrong, but their main excuse was that they just want to make clear what the word means.

The description of a dictionary can be wrong, so just refering to a dictionary in a discussion won't always do. It's like using a bicycle as a footbike in a pedestrian zone. According to a dictionary you aren't cycling, but it's likely that the police will stop you for riding a bicycle. The meaning or usage of the word "cycling" may not help you.

In the original case the dictionary wasn't wrong, because (a) lead can be associated with a pencil. And a directory is a yellow desktop folder, even if everybody would use the word folder to describe this icon.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1038433.  Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:47 am Reply with quote

knightmare wrote:
And a directory is a yellow desktop folder, even if everybody would use the word folder to describe this icon.


As far as computers go, "folder" is a synonym for "directory" and the two terms can be used interchangeably. In DOS and if memory serves up to about Windows 3, they were called directories, and from Win95 on were called folders.

If you use a command prompt on a windows machine, the command to create a new folder is "md" which is short for "mkdir" which in turn is a contraction of "make directory".

Not everybody uses the word folder, some of us still use directory from time to time, not because we're being difficult, but because it's ingrained.

 
RLDavies
1038572.  Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:17 am Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
As far as computers go, "folder" is a synonym for "directory" and the two terms can be used interchangeably. In DOS and if memory serves up to about Windows 3, they were called directories, and from Win95 on were called folders.

AmigaOS used the metaphor of a physical workspace instead of an office desk -- the computer "desktop" was the workbench, "files/directories" were drawers, and executable files were tools. It took a bit of re-learning to move from the Amiga to the PC.

 
djgordy
1038583.  Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:06 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
djgordy wrote:

Words, I would suggest, don't have "meanings", they have usage.


Ah.

"Your honour, when my client wrote that Lord Abovereproach was a pedophile nazi he was employiong the local usage of the words, in which 'pedophile' merely means one who likes and cares for children, and 'nazi' means a person of wit and wisdom. Clearly there was no intention to libel his lofrdship, and I move for a summary finding to that effect."

Good luck with that one!


Which just goes to illustrate the point you missed out in the quote of my posting

djgordy wrote:
if everyone uses a word in a certain way, that is what the word "means".


One person on their own is not enough to define what the usage is. Language is a social activity which proceeds by a degree of consensus. In order to accept that a word has a particular "meaning" it is necessary to shew that the usage is shared by a significant number of people.

 
WordLover
1038667.  Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:12 am Reply with quote

.....


Last edited by WordLover on Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
djgordy
1038691.  Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:33 pm Reply with quote

The point is that "meaning" is not an inviolable quality attached to a word. The meaning of a word is a fluid quality that changes over time and also between different situations. If we wish to know what a word "means" we have to know how it is being used - usage determines meaning. So if, for instance, someone wishes to say that there is no lead in a pencil because the word "lead" means the chemical element with atomic number 82, then we would say they are wrong because the usage determines another meaning.

 

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