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dependencies

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 2:48 UTC (Sat) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246)
In reply to: dependencies by giraffedata
Parent article: Soft updates, hard problems

At the very least, "piece of functionality" has nearly 100k hits on Google, generally referring individual features of a product or device. In contrast, "piece of function" only gets 14,500, and most of those that I looked at are phrases where "function" modifies something else--ie. "piece of function noun".

*shrug*


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dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 3:30 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Sure, but popularity is irrelevant to the point I'm making. In fact, I mentioned in my first post that "functionality" is widely used this way - it's why I thought it was worth mentioning. "Dependency" is quite a bit more popular than "dependence" in computer science discussions, but still wrong. Other phrasings that are in majority use but wrong: IDE to mean ATA, DB-9 to mean DE-9, RJ45 to mean the 8 position modular connector we use with Ethernet. "Could care less" to mean couldn't care less, gridlock to mean slow traffic, exponential growth to mean fast growth, steep learning curve to mean shallow learning curve.

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 9:18 UTC (Sat) by SiB (subscriber, #4048) [Link]

> Sure, but popularity is irrelevant to the point I'm making.

Language is supposed to serve people, not the other way. What people use and understand defines language, not the dictionary. The dictionary is supposed to record how people use language. Language evolves. Dictionaries need to follow that change. Popularity is all that matters. (I'm not a native English speaker, but what I said should apply to all languages in use.)

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 18:12 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Sure, but popularity is irrelevant to the point I'm making.
Language is supposed to serve people, not the other way. What people use and understand defines language, not the dictionary.

I agree, but I don't know why you bring it up. While I made the statement above about popularity, I didn't say anything about dictionaries except to say that the dictionary doesn't support my usage of "function."

Popularity is all that matters

Language serves people best by being logical, consistent, precise, and easily expressive. Those are not implied by popularity -- the number of people using a particular phrasing. When one chooses between two phrasings to write, the relative number of times one has heard one or the other should be a fairly minor factor.

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 12:12 UTC (Sat) by ajf (subscriber, #10844) [Link]

At the very least, "piece of functionality" has nearly 100k hits on Google
... and definately has nearly 14 million.

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 12:26 UTC (Sat) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246) [Link]

...many of which are people complaining that it's to be spelled "definitely," which incidentally gets nearly 10x as many hits (over 128M).

How exactly have you invalidated the notion that the relative hit count between two directly comparable alternatives suggests which one is more likely to be correct? I'd be worried if "definitely" got 100k hits but "definately" got 14M.

dependencies

Posted Jul 4, 2009 16:29 UTC (Sat) by ajf (subscriber, #10844) [Link]

Quite right, I should have compared it to the definantly count and concluded definately was "more likely to be correct" - which an utterly worthless conclusion, because both are still wrong. And that's exactly where your comparison leaves us.


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