[DWJ] "Orthogonal" (orthogonally to T-shirt slogans)

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Mon Jun 7 11:28:23 EDT 2010

On Mon, 7 Jun 2010, Minnow wrote:
> I am starting to feel that peppering speech with technical terms from 
> specialities is not unakin to the way that people used to put French words and 
> phrases in to show how educated they were, and in written work to put the 
> wretched things into italics as well; a fad that I hope is passing.

I rather think that this discussion has made it clear that the
people here who use "orthogonal" in common conversation had no
idea before this thread that it wasn't part of everybody's
vocabulary, and the assumption of snobbery is completely

The nature of language is that different people have different
vocabularies, and that will always be the case.

Personally, I have loved this thread, because I have loved both
the explicit mathematical jargon explanations (which, though I
understood, certainly have nothing to do with the images that are
in my mind when I use the word), and I loved the explanations
from people who don't use the word as to why it seems
contradictory ("right" vs. "right"). I prefer to see this
conversation as an educational one where we are all learning
interesting things about the differing ways we all use language,
not a judgmental conversation about who uses language correctly
and who doesn't.

(Answer: People who use "impactful" use language incorrectly. I
so decree as the language police!)


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