Re: [CR]Language Curmudgitude-

(Example: Framebuilders:Doug Fattic)

In-Reply-To: <>
References: <>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 14:06:25 -0500
From: "Sheldon Brown" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Language Curmudgitude-

At 1:01 AM -0500 1/16/03, wrote:
>In a message dated 1/15/03 1:06:43 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> writes:
>> I pontificated:
>> > > "BarCon" was a trademark of SunTour, but given that SunTour is
>> > > basically defunct, I see no reason for zeal in defending that
>> >> trademark, so I have no problem with using it as a generic term. At
>> >> least it's better than calling them "bar ends" since that term is
>> >> more properly used for the add-on doodads that go on MTB handlebars.
>> >>
>> >> On the other hand, I get apoplexy when people speak of "Tipo" hubs!
>> >> "Nuovo Tipo" is Italian for "New Type." so calling them "Tipo" is
>> >> equivalent to calling them "Type" hubs. All this does is call
>> >> attention to the speaker's laziness and ignorance of the Italian
>> > > language.
>> Stevan Thomas replied:
>> >Hmmm, they were "bar ends" in the 70s, way before MTBs, and not being a
>> MTB
>> >guy, I have no idea what you call those add on handlebar extensions.
>> They're called "bar ends." See above.
>> >The idea
>> >of language is to accurately communicate. If you say BarCon, the image
>> that
>> >pops into my mind is the SunTour trademarked product. They are two
>> different
>> >products with two different names, it's easier to keep a discussion
>> straight
>> >using the right terms. It seems lazy not to.
>> They are not all that different; same basic device, different brands,
>> differing about as much as one company's derailers differ from
>> another's.
>> There's a long history of trademarks fading into generic usages, a
>> normal progression when the legal department of the trademark holder
>> doesn't zealously defend the trademark.
>> >Calling them Tipo instead of Nuovo Tipo is sort of like calling Giuseppe
>> >Saronni "Beppi". It's a nick name. I know quite a few people who routinely
>> >say Campag or Campy, instead of Campagnolo. That makes them neither
>> ignorant
>> >of Italian, nor lazy.
>> Nope, I have nothing against nicknames within reason. Still, calling
>> them "Type" hubs seems to me to indicate a misunderstanding of the
>> meaning of the name.
>> >Why get apoplexy over that and be lazy about bar end vs. barcon? It's not
>> >about defending the SunTour TM.
>> It's not laziness, it's partly to avoid the confusion of having the
>> term "bar end" refer to two totally different items; partly 'cause
>> "BarCon" is such a nice term it seems a shame to allow it to
>> disappear with the demise of the product that it is a trademark for.
>> Sheldon "Don't You DARE Call Me 'Shelly'!" Brown
>> Newtonville, Massachusetts
>Just for starters, Campagnolo made bar end shifters for YEARS before anyone
>at Suntour even thought of making an improvement. That would be from 1951
>until at least the late 60s. The were called "Bar ends", or "fingertip
>shifters". I believe this also pre dated the introduction of those do-dads on
>MTBs also called bar ends.

I always knew them as "bar-end shift levers" or "bar-end levers." Don't recall the phrase "bar end" being used as a noun back in the day, only as an adjective. Of course, any old hippie's memories of the '60s and '70s are suspect...

I've reluctantly come to accept the use of "shifter" to describe the control unit, though it's the derailer that actually does the shifting. Since we can no longer refer to all types of controls as "shift levers" I've accommodated myself to this previously despised usage.

Never liked the store-boughten ones, used to make my own out of Hurét or Simplex down-tube shifters. I'd use a clamp-on mount at the end of the handlebar, with the lever inside the bar. This setup shifted in the opposite direction from standard units, and I found this preferable. I could upshift very fast by karate chopping the lever.
>It sounds like your attitude is that whatever you say is right and whatever
>anyone else says if they disagree with you, is wrong.

This is the nature of opinions. Sometimes things come across a bit heavier than intended in typed text, you can't see me wink.
>If that is not what you
>intend, I suggest you rethink your language. If it is what you intended, may
>I point out that "pontificate" means "to speak or express an opinion in a
>pompous or dogmatic way" at least according to Webster's.

Yep, that's what I meant. I know I have a tendency toward pomposity on occasion, though I try not to take myself too seriously.
>BTW, I disagree
>that BarCon is "such a nice term". Just how and why is it better than "bar
>end". It isn't.

I reiterate that the noun phrase "bar end" is ambiguous. Some people use it to refer to bar-end shifters, but the more common usage of the term applies to the add-on accessories that go on the ends of upright handlebars.

When a customer walks in to my shop and asks what we stock for bar ends, most of the time they're using the more common second usage.
>It's just another string of words meant to communicate. You
>are certainly entitled to your opinions, but your "opinions" aren't
>necessarily better than anyone elses. You certainly haven't backed it up with
>anything relevant to support it other than saying that a part that was given
>the name 20 or 30 years later, is somehow more "proper".

It's more proper because it's less ambiguous and confusing. In my own speech, I fluctuate between "barcon" and "bar-end shifter." I generally use the term "bar-end shifter" because many younger folks have no clue what a BarCon is, while the term "bar-end shifter" is self-explanatory. I try to avoid using specialized jargon unless I know I'm speaking to someone with sophisticated knowledge who will know what I'm talking about.
>That's hogwash.
>Nicknames, "within reason",seems to be entirely in your own mind. I know full
>well what Tipo means in Italian, and I am offended by your attitude about my
>choice to shorten Nuovo Tipo to Tipo for conversational use.

No offense was intended, but I do find that particular usage grating...though not as bad as calling tubulars "tubies."
>Who made you the
>arbiter of right and wrong when it comes to language usage?

I am a self-appointed expert and cycle-lexicographer. See my magnum opus: Many people consider my opinions on these topics worthwhile.
>I really like having discussions with people on the list. There is give and
>take. Get a clue, dude, you aren't discussing, you are pontificating.

Everybody has opinions and is entitled to express them. Some people like to clutter up their postings with "IMHOs" and other diffident qualifiers, but that's not my style. You're welcome to disagree with my opinions.

Sheldon "Soi-Disant Expert" Brown +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ | In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: | | freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence | | never to practice either of them. --Mark Twain | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ --
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