[whatwg] Section 1.7 "abstract language"
kevin.m.benson at gmail.com
Sat Aug 22 02:50:13 PDT 2009
On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 2:51 AM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> On Thu, 13 Aug 2009, Kevin Benson wrote:
> > On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 10:10 PM, Ian Hickson<ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > > On Thu, 6 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> > >>
> > >> "This specification defines an abstract language for describing
> > >> documents and applications, and some APIs for interacting with
> > >> in-memory representations of resources that use this language."
> > >>
> > >> The phrase "abstract language" concerns me. It's not clear to me that
> > >> a language can be abstract, nor is it clear to me what this phrase
> > >> refers to, especially since it seems to be distinguished from the
> > >> "concrete syntaxes that can be used to transmit resources that use
> > >> this abstract language, two of which are defined in this
> > >> specification."
> > >>
> > >> Perhaps there's some sort of abstract data model or information model
> > >> here; but I don't believe that the word "language" is appropriate to
> > >> describe this. Language as normally understood is a collection of
> > >> actual words or symbols, written or spoken. It is not a collection of
> > >> abstract concepts, at least not in any definition of the term I was
> > >> able to find.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > > What term would you recommend rather than "language" that is more
> > > understandable than "data model" or "information model"?
> > >
> > > Would "vocabulary" be ok?
> > Rather than changing the word "language", how about changing the the
> > word "abstract" instead... ...to an adjective such as "prescriptive" or
> > "normative"... in order to describe the usage of the word "language"
> > more purposefully ?
> On Sat, 15 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> > "Vocabulary" may be an an improvement over "abstract language"--I'd need
> > to think further about that--but I think Kevin's suggestion is likely
> > better. The spec defines a language (not abstract) with two syntaxes (or
> > dialects, or variants).
> The word "abstract" is there to lead people away from thinking of HTML as
> being a concrete language in the sense that, e.g., C++ is a "language" or
> BibTex is a "language". I agree that "abstract" isn't really the right
> word, but omitting it I think would cause more confusion here.
> "Vocabulary" is wrong too, since it implies just a lexicon of words,
> rather than a grammar, content models, etc.
> If anyone has any ideas for a better term than "abstract language" that
> conveys all the richness that language does but without implying a syntax
> exists, please let me know.
>From reading your latest response, the applicable term that _first_ popped
into my mind was:
corpus (plural corpora or corpuses)
but I'll certainly think about alternatives in the context you/ve conveyed
K e V i N
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