Technical vocabulary of the day

« previous post | next post »

If you're among those who worry that the vocabulary and syntax of English are about to collapse under the assaults of whateverist nomads, I suggest a close study of Penny Arcade for 3/12/2008, "The Case of Texas vs. KryoLord":

[For legal background, see Elizabeth Langton, "Rockwall County District Attorney Ray Sumrow used server for personal items, expert says", Dallas Morning News, 3/11/2008, with more here. For WoW background, see e.g. here.]


  1. rootlesscosmo said,

    April 22, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    Mr. Sumrow seems to assume the cross-examiner is using inclusive "or."

  2. Freddy Hill said,

    April 22, 2008 @ 4:46 pm

    Wow! I really like the cartoon zoom function. It's got to be the best Language Log usability enhancement in the blog's history!


  3. Mark Liberman said,

    April 22, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

    It’s got to be the best Language Log usability enhancement in the blog’s history!

    I'm afraid that's not saying much. I didn't touch the original Movable Type software between the time I installed it in July of 2003 and the final, fatal inode failures in March of 2008.

    But I agree, the FancyZoom Plugin is cute. I installed it because in this WordPress theme, the full posts as well as the index page have a fixed width in pixels for the text. I gather that this is viewed as a Good Thing by people in the know. I increase the size somewhat, but it's still way too narrow for many images. FancyZoom fixes that — though it would be nice to make it easier for users to reposition the images ad libitum.

  4. Josh Millard said,

    April 22, 2008 @ 8:05 pm

    I gather that this is viewed as a Good Thing by people in the know.

    It's kind of vi/emacs, really; people in the know stand a good chance of feeling strongly about it one way or the other (or even of feeling strongly and negatively about other folks having strong feelings in one direction at all).

    That said, I think the fixed width is nice, and the FancyZoom solution for wide content is pretty slick.

  5. Oskar said,

    April 23, 2008 @ 2:39 am

    I'm not a particularly big World of Warcraft fan, but I played it enough to be able to parse the lingo. I can attempt a small translation:

    "Do you now – or have you ever – tanked Kara as a prot-specced pally?"

    Tanking is when you act as a sort-of a human wall, it's a character which stands in front of the other character and takes the blunt of the trauma, while others stand back to heal injuries and deal most of the damage.

    "Pally" is simply short for "Paladin", one of the game-classes you can choose. A "prot-specced pally" is a Paladin who has specialized in a Protection, one of specializations you can choose as a Paladin.

    "Kara" is short for "Karazhan", a dungeon that you can play with extremely tough enemies but also large rewards. You need ten people to run it.


    "Do you now – or have you ever – tanked Kara as a prot-specced pally?"


    "Do you now – or have you ever – ventured into the Karazhan dungeon as a Paladin specializing in protection, and acted as a sort of human shield?"

    That's quite a short-hand.

  6. Edward Carney said,

    April 23, 2008 @ 11:22 am

    Thank you, Oskar.

    Fifteen minutes of furious browsing and I got most of it glossed, but failed to a achieve the equivalent in "standard" English. I did come away having even more sympathy for non-native speakers of our language than I did before.

  7. Carrie S. said,

    April 24, 2008 @ 11:27 am

    To Oskar's summation, I'd add that paladins, prot-specced or not, are generally considered only so-so as tanks for dungeons; being able to tank Karazhan as a paladin is a fairly hardcore feat.

    Actually, getting into Karazhan at all is middling-to-hardcore. :)

  8. ST said,

    April 24, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

    What does hardcorez mean?

  9. Oskar said,

    April 24, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    Thank you, Carrie, as I said I never really got that deep into it (not anywhere close to level 70 raids, besides, this was in the pre-Burning Crusade era), so clarification is appriciated.

    ST, hardcorez mean the same as hardcore, which is synonymous with, say, "bad-ass". When you're hardcore, you're a mean motherf*****, a serious dude who will kick your ass back to the stone-age if you encounter him in a dark alley in one of the cities of Warcraft. Also, a "hardcore gamer" is a gamer that's spends a lot of time playing top-of-the-line games and is really good at it, as opposed to a "casual gamer", someone who enjoys an occasional backgammon-game online.

  10. Arthur said,

    April 24, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

    @"Wow! I really like the cartoon zoom function. It’s got to be the best Language Log usability enhancement in the blog’s history!" — unless you're using Firefox on Linux (maybe also over a non-blazingly-fast connection), in which case it serves no purpose except to hang the browser for a couple of seconds when you click on the image.

    Correct solutions include "use a thumbnail image, but hyperlink it to the full-size image" and "use the full-size image scaled down with 'width' and 'height' attributes, and let the user right-click and 'View Image' to see the full-size image".

  11. Ewan said,

    April 25, 2008 @ 11:25 am

    To be fair to the cartoon zoom, Arthur, (without going too far off topic) it's probably largely your connection, since I'm using Firefox (3 beta) on Linux with no cartoon zoom problem. In case you are cursed with such a problem, right clicking and hitting 'View Image' still works as expected.

  12. ketsugi said,

    August 5, 2008 @ 2:07 am

    @Carrie: Wrong on many counts. Protadins are extremely good AoE tanks, and are used often in endgame raids, though admittedly they're used mostly for tanking trash. Karazhan is hardly a "middling-to-hardcore" dungeon, even at the time you posted that comment in April 2008; Karazhan is pretty much ez-mode these days. A decently-geared protadin with an intelligent player behind the keyboard could probably solo-tank the entire instance, with the exception of a few bosses whose mechanics dictate the need for an offtank.

    Translation: Protection-specced Paladins are very good at being a meat shield against multiple targets, and are used often in large dungeons requiring 10 to 25 people to participate. The Karazhan dungeon is considered to be a very easy one these days. A Paladin with decent equipment and not being played by an idiot could act as the single meat shield for all of Karazhan, with the exception of a few particularly tough monsters which use abilities that require there to be a secondary meat shield present.

RSS feed for comments on this post