In search of Precision...

The Junk Drawer is for those Off Topical discussions where we can ask questions of the community that we feel might have the ability to help out.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:01 pm

SteveR wrote:One place is in this book by Anne Lamott called "Bird by Bird" that talks about overcoming obstacles.
I am somewhat familiar with Ms. Lamott's writings, although not with this particular book. Bird by Bird sounds like a good read. Now, all I need is time to read it, as well as time to plow through the small mountain of reading material (mostly technical stuff) that awaits me each day when I turn on the lights in my office. :cry: I won't even mention all the E-mail that gushes in over the transom.
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earlgo
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by earlgo » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:50 pm

As it has been said, "Cain't read yer written cause its wrote rotten."
Even if the words are spelled phonetically, it should be able to convey the intent. Details are the result of answers to questions. Pictures convey visual details.
I know the answer. Let us all use Esperanto. :twisted:
--earlgo
Before you do anything, you must do something else first. - Washington's principle.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:18 am

earlgo wrote:I know the answer. Let us all use Esperanto. :twisted:
Not that it hasn't been tried in the past. :?
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tornitore45
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by tornitore45 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:53 pm

It would be foolish to argue the merit of proper writing or justify poor writing. The fact is that nobody intentionally lower his literary style. One write the best he can. Not everybody had the fortune or talent to receive a college education. Bashing and criticizing a person poor command of English is not going to improve his style and only results in humiliation. When I came to this country my English made me look retarded, yet my first two employers had enough intelligence to weight favorably my professional knowledge against my poor English.
The point is: language is a tool for communication and is designed with an exuberance of redundancy, like an error correcting code, orthography and grammar notwithstanding we seem to have no problem communicating with precision. On the other hand I often see grammatically perfect sentences that carry no useful data, like the case of describing some geometrical relationship or object shapes where orientation, locations and relations are ambiguous. All that grammatical precision is for naught.
Mauro Gaetano
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Magicniner
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by Magicniner » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:12 pm

earlgo wrote: I know the answer. Let us all use Esperanto. :twisted:
--earlgo
Or make an effort and be willing to learn?
Good things in many situations I'd suggest ;-)

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:02 pm

tornitore45 wrote:Not everybody had the fortune or talent to receive a college education.
In the USA, one's English education occurs in grade school and high school, not college. It is expected that incoming college students will have a good command of spoken and written English. Those who don't are going to experience difficulty. :D

I've known many people who do not have a college education, yet speak and write excellent English. If it is important enough to someone they'll do what it takes to be linguistically competent.
Bashing and criticizing a person poor command of English is not going to improve his style and only results in humiliation.
No one here is bashing and criticizing anyone over their command of English. The discussion has been civil in that regard. I don't think any reasonable person expects a non-native speaker of English to immediately speak and write like a Harvard language professor upon emigrating to the USA. However, it is reasonable to expect a native speaker to write using good English, especially if a non-native speaker is reading what the native speaker is writing.
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tornitore45
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by tornitore45 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:29 am

In the USA, one's English education occurs in grade school and high school, not college.
True, I was associating good writing with those that went to college, while there are HS graduate that write well, those that did not profit from English classes did not usually go to college or had difficulty there.
No one here is bashing and criticizing anyone over their command of English.
I did not imply to be the case here, it is not. This being a general discussion it includes the pervasive habit to bash on the internet at large.

Nobody makes mistakes on purpose. Some demand more from themselves than other, not just linguistically, but in all field that interest them; that is a fact of life that ultimate distinguish knowledgeable people from those that settle for mediocrity.
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mklotz
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by mklotz » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:44 am

BigDumbDinosaur wrote:
tornitore45 wrote:Not everybody had the fortune or talent to receive a college education.
In the USA, one's English education occurs in grade school and high school, not college. It is expected that incoming college students will have a good command of spoken and written English. Those who don't are going to experience difficulty. :D

I've known many people who do not have a college education, yet speak and write excellent English. If it is important enough to someone they'll do what it takes to be linguistically competent.
Bashing and criticizing a person poor command of English is not going to improve his style and only results in humiliation.
No one here is bashing and criticizing anyone over their command of English. The discussion has been civil in that regard. I don't think any reasonable person expects a non-native speaker of English to immediately speak and write like a Harvard language professor upon emigrating to the USA. However, it is reasonable to expect a native speaker to write using good English, especially if a non-native speaker is reading what the native speaker is writing.
Well said indeed, BDD.

You're absolutely correct about English education. If English proficiency is to be obtained by native speakers, it must occur in grade school and high school. Trying to learn what you ignored in college is a recipe for disaster. In college you're already immersed in a situation where you must use the language and your inability to do that well will affect your performance in many areas. When I attended MIT, English classes for non-native speakers were available but there were no English classes for native speakers; the presumption was that you had already mastered English in high school.

Whenever this subject arises, the "let's give non-native speakers a break" argument is dragged out. It's my experience that reasonable native speakers act very much like many Europeans. They appreciate anyone who makes an attempt to speak the local language and are willing to overlook errors, recognizing that the individual is making an effort and will improve with time.

Expectations for native speakers are much different. Unlike the non-natives, they've been exposed to extensive schooling in the subject. Beyond the schooling they've been immersed in the English-speaking culture for many years. If they habitually avoid the fact that their speech and writing differ dramatically from the English of newspapers, magazines, public figures, and non-entertainment television sources (e.g., news readers), then the real problem is that they simply don't want to make the effort to learn something that will positively affect their lives in many ways.
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by Harold_V » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:41 pm

tornitore45 wrote: Some demand more from themselves than other, not just linguistically, but in all field that interest them; that is a fact of life that ultimate distinguish knowledgeable people from those that settle for mediocrity.
My life experiences are rather limited, but it is my opinion that this statement rings true in the machine shop. My observations dictate that only about one, maybe two, in ten individuals will excel as a machinist. Three more are quite good, but the balance are not well suited for the trade, although they may stick with it. They will produce work of no particular quality or quantity, and work with little, if any, enthusiasm. What comes from their (limited) effort is what it is---with no attempt to "be the best", as precious few have the "killer" instinct to rise to the top. They simply don't care.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:06 pm

tornitore45 wrote:
In the USA, one's English education occurs in grade school and high school, not college.
True, I was associating good writing with those that went to college, while there are HS graduate that write well, those that did not profit from English classes did not usually go to college or had difficulty there.
I don't about now, but when I entered high school 58 years ago English classes were mandatory for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. One couldn't graduate without passing grades in English. We also had to take a U.S. constitution test in order to graduate. In those days, a high school education was more than what it apparently is nowadays.
mklotz wrote:Well said indeed, BDD.
Thanks! Periodically I like to fool humans with my smarts routine. :D
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DaveD
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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by DaveD » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:37 am

On another problem with searches, since I have been unable to find an answer to this otherwise. Why can't my search contain a word with only three letters, e.g., cab? That is a valid word and no word that I know of better describes a locomotive cab than the word cab! Searching for best practices on steel cab metal thickness, the word cab is omitted, so I get a bunch of hits that have nothing to do with the cab. That's just one example and there are many that have frustrated my efforts to find information in chaski. I have often done searches of chaski.org (and other forums with similar search limitations) directly from the Google search screen with sometimes better results, but that isn't a good answer. How do I get around this?
Dave Dalton

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Re: In search of Precision...

Post by Harold_V » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:57 pm

DaveD wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:37 am
How do I get around this?
I've asked both Mike and Marty to address this problem. I have no clue.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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