develooper Front page | perl.perl5.porters | Postings from February 2000

Re: should "use byte" be "use bytes"?

Mark Mielke
February 10, 2000 07:09
Re: should "use byte" be "use bytes"?
Message ID:
Ok... let me get this straight... you are going to pick one word over
another because it's easier to say and easier to type. You don't
really care about the accuracy of the word at all...

Wonderful. Great. Marvellous.

mark (who has been known to spend days deciding what to call something...)

On Wed, Feb 09, 2000 at 03:36:00PM -0700, "Tom Christiansen" wrote:
> >I prefer bytes over octets because it's one <mumble> shorter.
> Your intuition is right on the money, although perhaps you didn't
> conciously realize why you were leaning that way.  Actually, you
> see, "bytes" is really *way* shorter than "octets".
> I'm not talking typing, either--but if I were, I should point out
> that the letters "ctets" are typed all under the left hand, which
> results in something more than a tad unpleasant to type.
> No, I'm talking about *sounds*, here.  If you look at "bytes", you
> get something like /baIts/ phonemically (please see footnote), which
> as goes from closed to open to closed {COC} again, and that's it.
> You could even argue that the /aI/ counts as one phoneme and thus
> takes lets cognitive space.  Heck, in some places of the world, so
> does /ts/.  Certainty in the American South, you're apt to hear
> utterances that would phonetically be [bha?s] or [bha:s], losing
> the /t/ -> [?] in normal speech, and the /aI/ manifesting as [a]
> or a drawn-out (drawled out? :-) [a:].  The [h] is an aspiration,
> the [?] is the swallowed "t".
> Now compare this with "octets".  Using the brace notation above,
> we end up with an open-close sequence {OCCOC}, which is much harder.
> But your mouth is a three-dimensional object, not two, so you also
> have a front-back alternation between the "ct" pair to contend with.
> Your poor mouth has all kinds of transitions to make, across several
> different axes.  This is not a lot of fun, which is why it always
> gets worn down over the course of time; consider what happen to
> Latin "octo-" in modern Romance tongues, or even how differently
> English now pronounces German "knecht" when we say "knight".
> The word "octets" looks like /Ok 'tE?s/ phonemically, which is full
> of painfully clumsy post-positive aspirations in its common phonetic
> manifestations.  It ends up being more like [Okh 'thets], because
> there's a glaring [h] aspiration between the /kt/ boundary, at
> least, and then probably another one again after the first "t".
> Yes, the second "t" got swallowed a bit into [?], as it did with
> "bytes".
> The word also has something of an uncommon stress for a two-syllable
> English noun, falling as it does on the last syllable instead of
> the penult.  And really, "octets" is, all in all, a terribly uptight
> word, one whose crisp articulation doesn't lend itself to a relaxed
> pronunciation.  Well, at least, not to one permissible in polite
> company:  I'm not sure ['Akh tIts] is something you want your
> children reproducing, eh?  Sounds like something the early explorers
> might have said when they named Grands Tetons National Park. :-)
> In short, yes, you were exceedingly right--and for many interesting
> underlying reasons--when you said "bytes" was shorter than "octets".
> --tom
>   FOOTNOTE: See for decoding.

-- __________________________
.  .  _  ._  . .   .__    .  . ._. .__ .   . . .__  | SIR Tools          (7H12)
|\/| |_| |_| |/    |_     |\/|  |  |_  |   |/  |_   | Nortel Networks
|  | | | | \ | \   |__ .  |  | .|. |__ |__ | \ |__  | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all
                       and in the darkness bind them...

                  Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
Comments to Ask Bjørn Hansen at | Group listing | About