Terry et al,
While I agree with Terry about the role of glossary v. dictionary, I
wonder if it wouldn't be better to start with a dictionary, and move
toward a glossary in stages. I'm constantly amazed at the differences
between the language of design I see in postings here compared to my own
language. I find it enriching, in that I hope I'm learning about my
colleagues outside engineering by grappling with the language they use.
On the other hand, insofar as it would be good to get "useful predictive
theory" someday, for at least some aspects of design, a glossary is the
way to go.
Still, I remain unconvinced we're ready for a glossary.
But I think a dictionary - with its contexts and senses - could be a
good first step. And I think that since not every term will submit to
entry into a glossary, a dictionary could remain useful even after a
glossary is constructed.
Terence Love wrote:
> Hi Mike,
> Thanks for your post. I wonder? I feel context is more or less relevant
> depending on context.
> When chatting in a kind of loose social way then for me words are just
> whatever is useful to get some sort of idea across and for this I agree,
> context can be crucial. In fact you can use almost any words that are
> totally off meaning and still communicate an idea sort of (Ronnie Barker was
> a master at it). Its also common when people are not so skilled in using a
> second language. For this kind of converstation, dictionaries are useful
> because they provide all the range of meanings of a word that people use and
> have used.
> For me it seems the practices associated with research and the creation of
> useful predictive theory usually requires some fairly close agreement on
> definitions of key words. This is usually the role of a glossary rather than
> a dictionary.
> The confusion between these two types of talking can be important. I've just
> been delighted to review a fantastic critical design paper on the cultural
> and historical use of the words 'analysis' and 'synthesis' in design. The
> authors argue that we 'lost' the earlier, more useful, meanings and then
> went and 'made up' some new lightweight meanings that are much less useful -
> and these are in use today. The paper is signficantly relevant to most of
> the Humanities besides Design. It potentially turns upside down much of
> design theory and creativity theory and study of activities in the creative
> Interestingly, if published, most of the Humanities and Design will miss it.
> It's in a high status engineering design journal.
Filippo A. Salustri, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
350 Victoria St, Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3, Canada
Tel: 416/979-5000 ext 7749
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