Re: Functionality

Subject: Re: Functionality
From: David Jones/KSBEISD <David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- DATAHUB -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 15:35:44 HST

From: Paul.Dixon @ FMR.COM ("Dixon, Paul")
Date: 05/22/96 04:12:00 PM
Subject: Re: Functionality

>My position stands. I don't know about this. I know it's in Webster's
10th. Still, it seems like something that evolved into the language, but I
feel that it only muddies the language, and that we should still try to use
function, functions, or capability. Functionality--Webster's or not--is

Oh, my, what a number of things we have here. IMHO:

First, your position does not stand: you just changed it. The original
assertion was that the word "functionality" did not exist. Yet at least one
dictionary attests that it does. So now you are saying that it should not
exist/be used ... different assertion entirely!

Second, I suspect that *every word in a language* evolved into it at one time
or another. Some did this so long ago we have no written record of their
evolution. It may well muddy the language, it can certainly make it more
verbose. But the fact that it "evolved into the language" (you need to clarify
that, I suspect that "functionality" did not "evolve" into English!) is no
reason to say it should not exist or be used. (BTW, I agree, we should try our
best to use the alternatives first!)

Third, there are times when "technospeak" is exactly what is needed. To an
extent, the decision as to whether or not a word is "technospeak" depends on
the audience you're talking about. I think if I was documenting something in a
highly technical field, or one with a highly developed jargon of its own --
such as nuclear power plant operations, or blacksmithing -- for an audience of
people involved in that field, I would hinder communications badly, and perhaps
contribute to a disaster, by not using their familiar vocabulary simply on the
grounds that it is "technospeak."

Jargon is good. *Unnecessary* jargon is bad. The audience determines what
jargon is unnecessary.


David Jones, Technical Writer
David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- Datahub -dot- com
Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate

"I do not speak for my employer, my computer, or any other living thing."

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