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RE: Ways of breaking out of normal interpretation andmeaning

  • From: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
  • To: "xml-dev@lists.xml.org" <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2011 13:17:16 +0000

RE:  Ways of breaking out of normal interpretation andmeaning
Thanks Frank. Good point. I made the change:



-----Original Message-----
From: Frank Manola [mailto:fmanola@acm.org] 
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 6:57 PM
To: Costello, Roger L.
Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re:  Ways of breaking out of normal interpretation and meaning

On Dec 4, 2011, at 8:39 AM, Costello, Roger L. wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> Compare these two sentences:
>    Say your name out loud.
>    Say "your name" out loud.
> By wrapping those two words in quotes they are broken out of their normal meaning. They lose all meaning and just become syntactic/meaningless entities. We could just as well have said:
>     Say "blipity do" out loud.

It's one thing to say the two words are "broken out of their normal meaning" and another to say "they lose all meaning".  In the second sentence the quoted words mean themselves, rather than being a reference to the name of whoever is speaking.  That's still a meaning.  Suppose the sentence had been

  To open the safe, enter "your name" on the keypad.

Would you say you could just as well have said:

  To open the safe, enter "blipity do" on the keypad.

?  If you think so, you'd be quite a while getting the safe open!

> This illustrates the use/mention distinction in natural language semantics. The unquoted is used, the quoted is mentioned. If you would like to read more about this, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quotation/.
> Compare these:
>     <Book>
>    &lt;Book>
> By escaping the less-than symbol it is broken out of its normal meaning. An XML parser will no longer treat it as signifying the start of an element; it will simply treat it as a meaningless character, along with the following characters.
> XML Schema, XSLT 2.0, Schematron, and HTML5 use regular expressions.
> In the regular expression language, the dash symbol is a special character that means range.  This regular expression says any digit from zero to nine:
>    [0-9] 
> By preceding the dash with a backslash:
>    [0\-9]
> we have broken the dash out of its normal meaning and it just becomes a meaningless character. The regex now says zero, dash, or nine.
> Above I presented three examples of breaking out of normal interpretation/meaning. This suggests that breaking out of normal interpretation/meaning is a recurring pattern.
> /Roger
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