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SCUBA-L  November 1999, Week 2

SCUBA-L November 1999, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Skindiving - Freediving ?

From:

Clay Phipps <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 10 Nov 1999 14:17:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (143 lines)

On Wed, 10 Nov 1999 08:12:28 -0500,
"Reef Fish[...]" <[log in to unmask]> descriptivistly replied
via Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>
>At 10:34 AM 11/10/99 +0100, Magnus the Bollox :-) wrote:
[On Wed, 10 Nov 1999 20:11:03 +1200,,
 "J.M. Vitoux" <[log in to unmask]> inquired
 via Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>:]
>>>
>>>Is there a nuance between skindiving and freediving?
              ^^^^^^         ^^^^^^^^^^     ^^^^^^^^^^
In the days when hard-hat diving was still common among commercial divers,
"free diving" meant diving without an attached air hose,
thus including breath-hold and scuba diving.
 
At about the same time, "skin diving" seemed to have meant
diving in skin-tight "rubber skindiving suits" [e.g.: Cox:
"California Abalone", 1962, p. 96], including breath-hold and
scuba diving, by contrast with the bulky canvas hard-hat dry suits.
_Skin Diver_ magazine in the U.S.A., now dominated by scuba diving,
hasn't seen fit to change the name it started under in 1951.
I suppose some folks on 'SCUBA-L' have copies from _SDM_'s early days.
 
In that same year, in Hans Haas's _Dive to Adventure_ [(1947) 1951]
(a translation from German, which customarily consolidates entire phrases,
e.g.: "Untergrundsbahnhofzeitungsteller", so I'm sure the hyphens didn't
come from the German text), the common freediving activity "spear-fishing"
is hyphenated, as is the now-quaint-sounding term "goggle-fishing" [p. 20].
 
>>>What spelling is proper : One word, two words?
>>
>>Going by the rules used for 'deep-sea or deep sea'
>>I'd say the safest bet would be to treat them as two separate words
>>if they are nouns, i.e. a free diver and hyphenate otherwise i.e.
                     ^^^^                                      ^^^^
>>went free-diving. I think anything else is probably
>>an americanism, and therefore wrong  :-)
     ^^^^^^^^^^^                ^^^^^
Since Magnus pointed a finger across the Pond about what's "wrong",
I'll digress to point out that examples (anything less than a complete list)
introduced by latinisms should use "e.g." = "exempli gratia" (the latter
word is ablative, so the customary translation "for example" is loose).
Although use of "i.e." = "id est" ("that is") in its place might be
an anglicism (anglism?) or just a leicesterism, it really is _wrong_.
What are universities coming to on Magnus' side of the Pond?  :-)
 
>English is a LIVING language,
              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
One whose unusually large vocabulary, facilitating expression of very fine
shades of meaning, is being ruined by marginally literate people, notably
many sports broadcasters in the U.S.A., who reach & influence a very wide
audience, and by deliberately deceitful speakers & writers, notably
many advertising copywriters, advocates for various causes, and
government officials, whose goals can sometimes be advanced by
misleading listeners or readers.
 
>whose usage is guided not only by RULES but by accepted CURRENT usage.
                                                ^^^^^^^^
Um, yes, _who_ gets to decide what's "accepted"
pretty much is _the_ issue.
 
I recommend Fowler: _Modern English Usage_, 2nd. edition as revised
by Gowers.  The regrettable newfangled 3rd edition is by someone else
whose treatment of language is the opposite of Fowler & Gowers,
sort of like having PETA do a revision of _The Compleat Angler_.
 
Fowler provides more than one rule on hypenation;
he provides general rules he tallies as 8 [p. 255--258].
Fowler also has a rule specific to "free" [p. 212],
but it's no help for the question under discussion here.
 
>The RULE that dictates a hypenated word used as an adjective
 ^^^^^^^^
>is when the first word of the pair is a NOUN.
             ^^^^^^^^^^                  ^^^^
Noun-adjective and noun-participle composite adjectives
are only 2 cases in Fowler's rule 3 [p. 256],
which also promotes hyphens for adjective-adjective
adjective-participle, and verb-adverb composite adjectives.
 
>For example, sheep-loving Magnus should be hyphenated.  :-)
              ^^^^^^^^^^^^
That's because it falls under the subrule that noun-participle
composite adjectives should be hyphenated [p. 256].
And to preclude ambiguity about whether the sheep love (i.e.: are loving) him.
 
>You've been in the ivory towers with Shetland sheep for too long.
             ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The real goal is not to indulge in pedantry,
but to decrease ambiguity and increase the likelihood
that the writer's intended idea will be accurately communicated.
 
>That's why I use CAPS for emphasis instead of _caps_ or *caps* [...],
>because [... it] saves TWO keystrokes for every italicized word!
                  ^^^^^
The important point is that your saving of keystrokes in that manner
(usually?) doesn't create any ambiguity that's important in 'SCUBA-L'.
For a counterexample, I would offer 2 programming languages
whose concern for, um, brevity or "economy" of notation, can create
programs so difficult to read and understand that there are
"obfuscated code" contests popular with enthusiasts for each language.
 
I don't lament changes for convenience in English--or Americanese--
that don't reduce the variety and expressiveness of the language,
so the popular change of Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
("SCUBA") to lower-case "scuba" is fine with me.
I'm not keen on the "Caps Lock" keystrokes that Feesh seems so fond of.
On the other hand, it really irritates me to have perfectly good words
ruined by repeated misuse by people who use words to sound
more learned than they are, without knowing what the words mean,
and by dictionaries that enshrine repeated misuse.
That many uneducated people probably believe a whale is a fish
wouldn't justify modern definition of whales as fish instead of as mammals.
 
I'm certainly all for unambiguous new words in English--or Americanese--
Gives a writer or speaker more to work with.
 
>Use the keyword "freediving' (one word) OR "skindiving" (one word)
>in a web-search engine,
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
So now Web-search engines are to be the final linguistic authority
for Feesh?  Appealing to software that, at some popular search sites,
ranks Web pages containing an _exact_ phrase sought (i.e.: searched for)
significantly lower than pages in which the phrase doesn't occur at all?
A fine authority _that_ is!
 
>and you'll find HUNDREDS of web pages
>in which those words are spelled as single words.
                                     ^^^^^^^^^^^^
The 'consolidated' spelling clearly prevails
on the "Freedive" or "Freediver" e-mailing-list and its Web site,
although I originally tended to hyphenate: "free-diving".
Reading between the lines leaves me the impression that
Fowler would consolidate the 2 separate words into 1 [p. 255--256].
To avoid potential confusion with situations where diving is not "free",
i.e.: if a diver is charged money just for the right--
the fee-collectors will insist it's a privilege--of entering the water,
e.g.: marine-sanctuary user fees, I wouldn't leave "free diving" as
separate words, and neither, I'm convinced, would Fowler.
 
Ooops.  It's waaay past time to get back to my Perl scripts.
 
--Clay Phipps ["[log in to unmask]"]

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