Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued? - SUN

This is a discussion on Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued? - SUN ; In comp.unix.solaris Casper H.S. Dik wrote: > chocolatemalt writes: > >>Excellent points. I would also add that with our inundation of acronyms >>in modern English, many are losing their capitalization in common use >>and can't be pluralized in a workable ...

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Thread: Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

  1. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In comp.unix.solaris Casper H.S. Dik wrote:
    > chocolatemalt writes:
    >
    >>Excellent points. I would also add that with our inundation of acronyms
    >>in modern English, many are losing their capitalization in common use
    >>and can't be pluralized in a workable manner without an apostrophe:

    >
    >> I have two cpu's in this computer.

    >
    >> I need a new cb radio... they got any cb's at that store?

    >
    > Except that they're not acronyms but rather abbreviations.


    Or initialisms (a distinction which is primarily observed in the USA).

    I'm still reeling over the concept that teachers in an English-speaking
    country taught (and may still teach) "'s" as the proper way to pluralize
    acronyms (and initialisms). I can't find any authority that would suggest
    this is or has been proper, except curiously for Washington State University,
    which more or less says, "it's wrong but everyone does it so go ahead."
    It's convincing me more and more that "US English" will need to be given its
    own name before long.

    Colin

  2. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 18:32:38 GMT
    Rich Teer wrote:

    > Another pet peeve is people using "inquire" and "inquiry"
    > when they mean "enquire" and "enquiry" respectively.


    Actually, both are OK, with the in- variant closer to the Latin source
    of the words (in + quaerere).

    --
    Stefaan
    --
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
    and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh

  3. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 06:09:45 -0700
    WSteffen wrote:

    > A good example is using then where than is correct and visa-versa.


    Or visa-versa when vice versa is correct :-)

    Credit cards corrupting English, bah!

    --
    Stefaan
    --
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
    and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh

  4. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    chocolatemalt writes:

    >> > Except that they're not acronyms but rather abbreviations.


    >Abbreviation: computer -> comp.
    >Acronym: Citizen's Band -> CB


    Nope; acronyms are "nyms" and therefor they are "words" which
    can be pronounced. Acronyms are "words formed from the letters
    of others". So "CB" need not apply, it is not a "word".

    Abbrevations are any form of shortening of words; this includes
    "comp.sys." or "CB".

    Casper
    --
    Expressed in this posting are my opinions. They are in no way related
    to opinions held by my employer, Sun Microsystems.
    Statements on Sun products included here are not gospel and may
    be fiction rather than truth.

  5. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Fri, 4 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:

    > Abbreviation: computer -> comp.
    > Acronym: Citizen's Band -> CB


    Wrong. An acronym is an abbreviation that can be pronounced as
    a word, it is NOT another word for abbreviation. So, CB and CPU
    are abbreviations (you can't say either as a word), but BASIC
    and RAID are acronyms.

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

  6. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    Colin B. wrote:
    > I'm still reeling over the concept that teachers in an English-speaking
    > country taught (and may still teach) "'s" as the proper way to pluralize
    > acronyms (and initialisms). I can't find any authority that would suggest
    > this is or has been proper,


    English teachers teaching it *are* the authority. Maybe there is some
    other authority that you like better, but then who's the authority on
    which authority to follow? :-)

    I'm not saying you don't have a good case, but unless the language is
    French, there is no central authority that decides what's wrong and
    what's right. Basically, what's proper is just whatever a group of
    people decides is proper.

    - Logan

  7. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In article <436bdb38$0$11077$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl>,
    Casper H.S. Dik wrote:

    > chocolatemalt writes:
    >
    > >> > Except that they're not acronyms but rather abbreviations.

    >
    > >Abbreviation: computer -> comp.
    > >Acronym: Citizen's Band -> CB

    >
    > Nope; acronyms are "nyms" and therefor they are "words" which
    > can be pronounced. Acronyms are "words formed from the letters
    > of others". So "CB" need not apply, it is not a "word".
    >
    > Abbrevations are any form of shortening of words; this includes
    > "comp.sys." or "CB".
    >
    > Casper


    Huh. Right you are... I had thought any capitalized abbreviation
    applied for that term, but only the subset of examples like RADAR and
    LASER make the cut. Thanks for setting me straight. And I thought I
    spent too much time in the dictionary already. :P BTW, I get "name"
    for "nym", where "word" would be "logos" in Greek, but the sense you're
    using is the same. Bummer about this enlightenment too -- terms like CB
    and CPU deserve something less stodgy than "initialism", ick.

    Hmm... In my defense, I notice that numerous websites with "acronym"
    lists freely use it to describe any initialism at all. Not that it's
    "correct" of course, but if misunderstanding becomes conventional and
    the dictionary changes in a few years, it wouldn't be the first time.

  8. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    chocolatemalt wrote:
    > In article <436bdb38$0$11077$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl>,
    > Casper H.S. Dik wrote:


    >>Nope; acronyms are "nyms" and therefor they are "words" which
    >>can be pronounced.


    > Huh. Right you are... I had thought any capitalized abbreviation
    > applied for that term, but only the subset of examples like RADAR and
    > LASER make the cut. Thanks for setting me straight. And I thought I
    > spent too much time in the dictionary already. :P BTW, I get "name"
    > for "nym", where "word" would be "logos" in Greek, but the sense you're
    > using is the same. Bummer about this enlightenment too -- terms like CB
    > and CPU deserve something less stodgy than "initialism", ick.
    >
    > Hmm... In my defense, I notice that numerous websites with "acronym"
    > lists freely use it to describe any initialism at all. Not that it's
    > "correct" of course, but if misunderstanding becomes conventional and
    > the dictionary changes in a few years, it wouldn't be the first time.


    Your usage of the article "the" with the noun "dictionary" is a curious
    one. m-w.com already counts "FBI" as an acronym.

    The Oxford American Dictionary that comes with Mac OS X says an acronym
    is "a word formed from the initial letters of other words" and gives
    the examples "radar" and "snafu". Note that neither of these is in all
    caps, whereas according to how I understand the rules of English, it is
    not acceptable for words to be spelled with all uppercase (with the
    exception of one-letter words). So, while being pronounceable is a
    qualification, so is having a spelling that doesn't require all caps.

    My point is that if "CPU" can't be an acronym because acronyms are
    words and words are pronounceable, then "SMART" can't be an acronym
    either, because even though it is pronounceable, acronyms are words
    and words aren't written in all uppercase. While I can see a case
    for excluding certain things from word status (and thus acronym status),
    I can't see why being pronounceable is more important than being
    written in lowercase.

    To put it another way, if an acronym needs to be a word, then "SCUBA",
    though pronounceable, is an abbreviation (for "Self-Contained Underwater
    Breathing Apparatus") and thus not a word and not an acronym, but
    "scuba" is a word dervied from the abbreviation SCUBA and thus is a
    word and is an acronym.

    Personally, though, I think the most common usage of the term acronym
    allows abbreviations to be acronyms (most people would say "SCUBA" is
    an acronym), thus there is no requirement that they are words, and
    thus unpronounceable things can be acronyms as well.

    - Logan

  9. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    chocolatemalt writes:

    >Hmm... In my defense, I notice that numerous websites with "acronym"
    >lists freely use it to describe any initialism at all. Not that it's
    >"correct" of course, but if misunderstanding becomes conventional and
    >the dictionary changes in a few years, it wouldn't be the first time.


    It's a common misconception.

    Casper
    --
    Expressed in this posting are my opinions. They are in no way related
    to opinions held by my employer, Sun Microsystems.
    Statements on Sun products included here are not gospel and may
    be fiction rather than truth.

  10. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In article <436c8bc4$0$11064$e4fe514c@news.xs4all.nl>,
    Casper H.S. Dik wrote:

    > chocolatemalt writes:
    >
    > >Hmm... In my defense, I notice that numerous websites with "acronym"
    > >lists freely use it to describe any initialism at all. Not that it's
    > >"correct" of course, but if misunderstanding becomes conventional and
    > >the dictionary changes in a few years, it wouldn't be the first time.

    >
    > It's a common misconception.
    >
    > Casper


    It now appears to be beyond common... it's dominant. Simple web and
    newsgroup searches show that. Languages change, whether through error
    or invention, but the change is "real" and the old definition takes its
    normal course to the "archaic" category once the dictionaries catch up.
    I believe that's what we're seeing now with "acronym".

    Here is the link to the definition that Logan mentioned, from one
    dictionary that is reflecting the more common usage:

    http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/acronym

    Send them some hate mail, Casper!

  11. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Sat, 5 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:

    > Here is the link to the definition that Logan mentioned, from one
    > dictionary that is reflecting the more common usage:
    >
    > http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/acronym


    Huh. Merriam-Webster is NOT, IMHO, an authority for the English
    language. That would be The OED (Oxfored English Dictionary).

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

  12. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    HI,

    Rich Teer wrote:
    > On Thu, 3 Nov 2005, Coy Hile wrote:
    >
    >> Am I the only one who still (correctly -- though the other option is
    >> AFAIK equally correct as well) pluralizes acronyms with an apostrophe?

    >
    >
    > I don't think you're the only one, but according to the Chicago Manual
    > of Style, the correct way to pluralise an abbreviation is (in most
    > cases) WITHOUT an apostrophe. See Section 6.16 of the CMoS 14th Edition,
    > or 7.15 of the 15th Edition.
    >
    > A common practise is not necessarily a correct one. :-)
    >

    I assume that you refer to the process of installing MS in office or home

    /michael

  13. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    Rich Teer wrote:
    > On Sat, 5 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:
    >
    >> Here is the link to the definition that Logan mentioned, from one
    >> dictionary that is reflecting the more common usage:
    >>
    >> http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/acronym

    >
    >
    > Huh. Merriam-Webster is NOT, IMHO, an authority for the English
    > language. That would be The OED (Oxfored English Dictionary).
    >


    What is the "Oxfored English Dictionary"? Where does one buy a copy?

    But would agree with you about the Oxford one. I think *most* reasonably
    well educated people in England would accept the Oxford English
    Dictionary (link seems dead at http://www.oed.com/) more than Websters
    or any other dictionary.

    I'm not quite sure why this topic has generated so much interest. I
    originally started it about the SS20 and set it to one or possibly two
    newsgroups. Certainly not to "aus.computers.sun", "uk.comp.sys.sun" or
    several of the newsgroups that have now been added to the list. I will
    not bother adding alt.usage.english to the list!!

    dave


  14. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Sun, 6 Nov 2005, Dave wrote:

    > What is the "Oxfored English Dictionary"? Where does one buy a copy?


    It's a cheap knock-off of the real one. :-)

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

  15. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In article <436dfdc4@212.67.96.135>, Dave wrote:

    > Rich Teer wrote:
    > > On Sat, 5 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:
    > >
    > >> Here is the link to the definition that Logan mentioned, from one
    > >> dictionary that is reflecting the more common usage:
    > >>
    > >> http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/acronym

    > >
    > >
    > > Huh. Merriam-Webster is NOT, IMHO, an authority for the English
    > > language. That would be The OED (Oxfored English Dictionary).
    > >

    >
    > What is the "Oxfored English Dictionary"? Where does one buy a copy?
    >
    > But would agree with you about the Oxford one. I think *most* reasonably
    > well educated people in England would accept the Oxford English
    > Dictionary (link seems dead at http://www.oed.com/) more than Websters
    > or any other dictionary.


    I won't be the one to say many negative things about the OED -- it's an
    awesome source of English etymology, something sorely lacking in other
    dictionaries that are trying to achieve a print edition that weighs less
    than 80 lbs. My dad has the 1989 two-tome hyper-tiny-text version that
    is always fun to pore through with the included magnifying glass to
    chase down obscure Old Norse origins of "thorpe" or whatever. Too bad
    the online version is so pricey.

    But as the "authority" for the current spoken language, to the exclusion
    of Merriam-Webster? Or whatever general usage you hear on the street,
    or read on the net? Remember that dictionaries are supposed to be
    determined (however imperfectly) by the spoken language, not vice-versa.

    Consider as a silly (but real) example the following: Homer Simpson's
    "D'oh!", introduced in 1987 when The Simpsons came around, and in common
    use among the younger and college-age crowd by the early 90's, was
    finally incorporated into the OED in 2001. Does that mean all those
    people saying "d'oh!" were wrong, until one day they were suddenly
    right, their rightness being flipped on like a light switch on the exact
    date of the new OED publication?

    Here is a choice quote from a dude from the OED itself on this subject:

    It should be understood that fully comprehensive coverage of all
    elements of the language is a chimera. That said, the content of the
    (Oxford English Dictionary) is certainly comprehensive within
    reasonable bounds.

    OED Chief Editor John Simpson (2000)

    You are of course free to treat the OED as the holy authority on the
    English language and disparage other sources like M-W, but you'll be
    hard pressed to find any folks educated on the matter (i.e. linguists or
    OED Chief Editors) to agree with you. Other dictionaries might be more
    up to date than the OED, which is more likely to take a slow and
    conservative approach to new or changed definitions.

    It's an easy to trap to fall into (I did it just the other day, when
    looking up the "official" and narrow definition of "acronym" and
    believing it to be current) but one worth avoiding. If 90%+ of the
    population is using one definition, and you're holding on to another
    definition (aided by dictionaries, perhaps outdated), then you run the
    risk of eventually sounding like a stodgy-wodge that corrects people
    saying "It's me" with "It's I", or trying to stamp out the use of
    "ain't". It doesn't make you wrong, but neither can you make current
    general usage "wrong".

    A few other relevant (and great) quotations I ran across:

    Dictionaries are like watches, the worst is better than none, and
    the best cannot be expected to go quite true.

    Samuel Johnson (1784)

    (Samuel Johnson) quickly learned the lesson that all
    dictionary-makers learn sooner or later, that a dictionary is out
    of date on the day of its publication.

    Ronald Wardhaugh (1999)

    > I'm not quite sure why this topic has generated so much interest. I
    > originally started it about the SS20 and set it to one or possibly two
    > newsgroups. Certainly not to "aus.computers.sun", "uk.comp.sys.sun" or
    > several of the newsgroups that have now been added to the list. I will
    > not bother adding alt.usage.english to the list!!
    >
    > dave


    AUE would likely yell at us to read the FAQ and not beat the
    "dictionaries vs living language" dead horse again. A thread on SPARC
    20's (uh-oh... "20s"!) is a nice hiding place for this babble. :P

  16. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    On Sun, 6 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:

    > But as the "authority" for the current spoken language, to the exclusion
    > of Merriam-Webster? Or whatever general usage you hear on the street,


    Yes, because Merriam-Webster is an "American English" dictionary, not
    an English dictionary. IMHO, any dictionary that prefers "color" (and
    the like) to "colour" is suspect! :-)

    --
    Rich Teer, SCNA, SCSA, OpenSolaris CAB member

    President,
    Rite Online Inc.

    Voice: +1 (250) 979-1638
    URL: http://www.rite-group.com/rich

  17. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In article ,
    Rich Teer wrote:

    > On Sun, 6 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:
    >
    > > But as the "authority" for the current spoken language, to the exclusion
    > > of Merriam-Webster? Or whatever general usage you hear on the street,

    >
    > Yes, because Merriam-Webster is an "American English" dictionary, not
    > an English dictionary. IMHO, any dictionary that prefers "color" (and
    > the like) to "colour" is suspect! :-)


    Lol! If it makes you feel any better, I have an old M-W Collegiate
    dictionary that shows the pronunciation for "Monday" to be strictly
    "MUN-dee", no other alternatives. We disrespected Americans should rise
    up and send some armies somewhere to teach people lessons... oh wait...

  18. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    chocolatemalt wrote:
    > I won't be the one to say many negative things about the OED


    > But as the "authority" for the current spoken language, to the exclusion
    > of Merriam-Webster? Or whatever general usage you hear on the street,
    > or read on the net? Remember that dictionaries are supposed to be
    > determined (however imperfectly) by the spoken language, not vice-versa.
    >
    > Consider as a silly (but real) example the following: Homer Simpson's
    > "D'oh!", introduced in 1987 when The Simpsons came around, and in common
    > use among the younger and college-age crowd by the early 90's, was
    > finally incorporated into the OED in 2001. Does that mean all those
    > people saying "d'oh!" were wrong, until one day they were suddenly
    > right, their rightness being flipped on like a light switch on the exact
    > date of the new OED publication?


    I tend to agree, but I have one additional comment. I think dictionaries
    are simultaneously both descriptive *and* prescriptive. They do not make
    the rules, and they don't determine what new words are introduced and so
    forth. They describe what the language contains and what is considered
    correct and proper at the time they are published. But at the same time,
    they do serve to moderate the chaos somewhat. They only include words
    when a good case can be made for inclusion. There are trendy words that
    don't ever get included. And they also serve to cement and standardize
    common practice.

    So, I think it works both ways. You can point at a dictionary (or, better,
    at a consensus or at least majority opinion among several dictionaries)
    and at least say, "at one time, this was considered to be right, and this
    other thing was considered to be wrong". It doesn't prevent language from
    changing and opinions of what's right from changing, but it does sort of
    give people something to standardize on and thus hopefully cut down on
    the arbitrary and pointless variation rather than the evolution of the
    language that serves a purpose. (For example, having the word "acronym"
    with a very narrow meaning presents difficulties because there are lots
    of things which could almost be acronyms but which we don't have another
    word for, so broadening the definition of "acronym" could be a useful
    change. On the other hand, IMHO, "lite" as a replacement for "light"
    doesn't have much to recommend it and is mostly just a stupid variation
    introduced for marketing purposes that doesn't improve upon the original.)

    - Logan

  19. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    Rich Teer wrote:
    > On Sat, 5 Nov 2005, chocolatemalt wrote:
    >
    >> Here is the link to the definition that Logan mentioned, from one
    >> dictionary that is reflecting the more common usage:
    >>
    >> http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/acronym

    >
    >
    > Huh. Merriam-Webster is NOT, IMHO, an authority for the English
    > language. That would be The OED (Oxfored English Dictionary).

    ^^^^^^^

    *chuckle*, though I agree with you, mate

    --
    Coy Hile
    hile@cse.psu.edu

  20. Re: When was the SPARC 20 introduced and discontinued?

    In comp.unix.solaris Logan Shaw wrote:
    > Colin B. wrote:
    >> I'm still reeling over the concept that teachers in an English-speaking
    >> country taught (and may still teach) "'s" as the proper way to pluralize
    >> acronyms (and initialisms). I can't find any authority that would suggest
    >> this is or has been proper,

    >
    > English teachers teaching it *are* the authority. Maybe there is some
    > other authority that you like better, but then who's the authority on
    > which authority to follow? :-)


    Heh. True enough, although given that teachers (and teaching material!) are
    potentially quite fallible, their authority may also come into question.
    Question everything! Believe nothing! Get out the tinfoil hats!

    Whew! Sorry about that. I'm better now. Honestly!

    > I'm not saying you don't have a good case, but unless the language is
    > French, there is no central authority that decides what's wrong and
    > what's right. Basically, what's proper is just whatever a group of
    > people decides is proper.


    Of course, ANYONE can decide that something is proper. The question comes
    when assigning credibility to this group vs. that. English teachers are
    definitely one authority on the language, but in this case it seems like
    the word of two teachers (and undoubtedly more) goes against highly respected
    style guides (Columbia Guide and Associated Press, to mention two) as well
    as most semiformal or informal sources (wikipedia, most US and UK campus
    guides, etc.) so my instinct is to jump up and down yelling, "your teachers
    were wrong!!!" Of course, they weren't wrong--they were teaching what they
    were supposed to teach, and the content itself is not definitively correct
    or incorrect.

    Suffice to say that pluralising acronyms (and initialisms!) with 's is more
    likely to be corrected by editors across many fields than when done with a
    simple s.

    Just to drop a note about the Sparc20 here (remember the SS20 question that
    started this insane thread?), the final order date was 06/1997.

    Colin

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